Wednesday 24 February 2021 / 10:31 PM Anneliese Dodds

Labour unveil plan to secure the future of Britain’s high streets post-COVID

Labour today unveils proposals to secure the future of Britain’s high streets after the pandemic.

In a speech ahead of next week’s Budget, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds will accuse the Conservatives of presiding “over a decade of decline in Britain’s high streets that has left our economy insecure and the foundations of our society weakened.”

The Shadow Chancellor will announce new proposals to secure Britain’s high streets post-pandemic and to give local communities a stake in their future, including:

  • Reversing new planning rules introduced by the Conservatives that would enable Britain’s high streets to be sold off to the highest bidder for poor quality housing, without planning permission.
  • Giving councils new powers to repurpose commercial properties that have been vacant for at least 12 months to bring them back into continued use.
  • Calling on the Government to ensure its much-delayed review of business rates leads to wholesale reform so that high street shops compete on a level playing field with their online competitors.

The Labour leader Keir Starmer will be visiting Crawley on Thursday to discuss the proposals with local council leaders.

Speaking ahead of her speech, Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“Britain’s high streets are at the heart of local communities. It is not just a string of shops and post offices, it’s a place that people want to have pride in. The high street goes to the heart of Labour’s vision to make Britain the best place to grow up and grow old in.

“However, the Conservatives have presided over a decade of decline in Britain’s high streets that has left our economy insecure and the foundations of our society weakened.

“Labour’s plan would help secure the future of the high street. It would give local communities a proper stake in their town centres, support new businesses to open up on our high streets and help rebuild our economy post-pandemic.”