Lib Dem plans for vibrant local high streets announced

February 21, 2010 5:44 PM
STRUGGLING BUSINESS?: Councillor David Kendall passes a survey to Hair Company owner Nigel Clarke. Picture by Martin Dalton

Nigel Clarke and Cllr David Kendall launching a business survey in the town last year.

Local Liberal Democrats, including parliamentary candidate Cllr David Kendall and local business owner and activist Nigel Clarke, have welcomed Nick Clegg's recognition that high streets are an essential part of the local community.

Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader, said:

"Twelve thousand independent shops closed in 2009 alone. This is an economic tragedy as well as a social one as high streets lose their individual distinctiveness."

"The Liberal Democrat vision is to stop this decline and rebuild vibrant local high streets. This requires a level playing field that allows small and big business to flourish alongside each other."

The Liberal Democrat plans include:

  • Ensuring a long term future for the Post office by developing new services such as Postbank
  • Direct help for businesses by reforming business rates, reducing employment taxes as soon as possible and cutting red tape
  • Providing fair access to credit by getting the banks to lend again and creating a more diverse financial infrastructure
  • Creating a fairer marketplace by ensuring sustainable retail development and taking a more localised approach to competition

Brentwood Town Centre Trader Nigel Clarke, who has been campaigning on many high street issues including lower car parking charges for a number of years, said:

"I welcome Nick Clegg's plans for High Streets. Here in Brentwood, we've all struggled during the High Street improvements only to find that we had the "A Board" debacle shortly afterwards after actions by our Conservative borough council.

"We now await our annual business rates and are worrying what news this will bring for us.

Cllr David Kendall added:

"We've seen so many retailers close down in Brentwood and Ongar recently and empty shops are becoming a real issue.

"I know that any measures to reform business rates and provide fair access to credit by getting the banks to lend again will be welcomed by many Brentwood & Ongar retailers."

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