Labour’s 5-point plan to breathe life into Britain’s high streets

Labour’s 5-point plan to breathe life into Britain’s high streets

Under the Conservatives, Britain’s high streets are on the decline.

There are now 3,710 fewer fruit and veg shops, butchers, and newsagents than there were in 2010.

Rishi Sunak’s recession has hammered small business and consumers alike, with the soaring cost of living, eye-watering mortgage and rent payments contributing to businesses closing and shops boarded up.

And since 2022 alone, an additional 385 towns have seen their last bank branch close, or announce that they will be closing imminently. This has left local people and businesses without any options to bank locally.

The decimation to small business is coupled with record levels of shoplifting – up more than 30 per cent in a single year – and persistently high levels of antisocial behaviour, with a third of the public witnessing or experiencing it in their local area over the past 12 months. This is leaving shops and shoppers crippled by crime in their communities.

As part of Labour’s missions to get Britain building again and take back our streets, we will work to rejuvenate our high streets and bring economic growth back to towns across the country.

How Labour will restore Britain’s high streets

1. Tackle anti-social behaviour and shoplifting 

So that people feel safe when they go out to shop, eat or socialise in their local high street, putting 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the beat, paid for by cutting police bureaucracy and outside contracts​, and scrapping the Tories’ £200 rule which stops shoplifting being investigated.  

2. Roll out banking hubs

Thriving high streets need banking services for local businesses and customers. Labour will roll out banking hubs to guarantee face-to-face banking in every community boosting local high streets and shops. The cost of opening and operating the hubs will be met collectively by the banks.​  

3. Replace business rates

Labour will replace business rates with a new system of business property taxation which rebalances the burden and levels the playing field between our high streets and online giants.

4. Stamp out late payments

Small and independent retailers shouldn’t be forced to wait months to be paid for work by big clients. Labour would introduce tough new laws to stamp out late payments and make sure more money gets to high street firms.

5. Revamp empty shops, pubs and community spaces

People won’t visit high streets blighted by unsightly boarded up shops. Labour will give communities a strong new ‘right to buy’ beloved community assets to revamp high streets and end the blight of empty premises.