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  1. Published on: 03/12/2018 09:48 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Southport retailers, residents and Labour campaigners have been discussing how to save local high streets as part of Small Business Saturday.



    Shadow Treasury Minister Peter Dowd MP and Labour's candidate for the town, Liz Savage, were out and about as part of a Labour campaign to listen to local concerns, asking how it can help and explaining its plans to assist small business owners and troubled high streets.



    Speaking to local retailers and residents at the opening of Santa's Grotto in Wayfarer Arcade on Lord St, Liz Savage heard that the government's much-trumpeted plan to reduce the business rates will actually leave most shops on the town's premier retail destination completely untouched.



    Liz Savage explained:



    "High business rates is the number one problem Lord St retailers have complained to me about. Yet the government, which sets the rates in the first place, proposes a solution which leaves many of the retailers here in exactly the same boat as their premises are above the low ceiling the government has set for assistance."



    "It's great the government is finally listening to our calls to look again at business rates but it doesn't go anywhere near the level of reform we want to see. To qualify businesses must have a rateable value below £51,000, so this won't really help Lord St and it's misleading of the local MP to claim it will."



    The team also visited Birkdale Village where some local business owners were more hopeful but still concerned about recent closures such as the RBS bank branch, which shut its doors for the last time at the start of last month. Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said Labour's plans received a warm welcome in the village:



    "Local business has suffered under the austerity plans brought in by the Tories and Lib Dems, a lack of wage growth means there's not the spare cash there was going around and is a factor forcing changes."



    "That is sadly and rather literally illustrated by the local RBS branch closing here in Birkdale, something Southport's Conservative MP wrongly claimed he'd successfully prevented."



    "It's worrying when high street mainstays disappear, it can lead to a downward spiral and its one of the reasons we want to stop bank and post office closures as part of our plans. We also want annual rates evaluations, to ensure the business rate system is as fair and up to date as possible."



    "Our ideas were really well received, as was the fact we want to listen and respond to the problems local businesses face."



    The owner of the Barrel House cafe, Martin Bos, told the Labour activists:



    "There are major changes going on that the government is very slow to react to. Its policy does little to help current business and isn't really preparing for the future either."



    "I personally believe that high streets will be less about retail as that increasingly moves online and will be more about creating social areas while retaining some core necessities."



    As part of its national campaign, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP is using roundtable meetings with small businesses to identify how Labour’s policies can best be implemented to help high streets.



    Labour also wants to see free public Wi-Fi in town centres and improved local bus services and free bus travel for under 25s to encourage ease of access. A register of landlords of empty shops in each local authority is also intended, to help combat the problem.



    The Salford and Eccles MP said:



    “Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and high streets are the heart of our communities. We cannot continue to allow them to decline as they have under the Tories."



    “I'm proud that Labour members are out in force listening to local communities so that we can work together across the country to breathe life back into our high streets.”

    Liz Savage with "Ideal Gifts" owner Eileen at Santa's Grotto in Wayfarer's Arcade.

    Peter Dowd MP with Liz Savage and Birkdale's The Barrel House owner, Martin.

    Labour's campaign team in Birkdale Village
         

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    Contact us with your news. Mob/Txt 07530 315 478 southport@qnews.co.uk




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    Your Comments:


  3. dav says:03/12/2018 11:52 AM
    Nice to have a bit of hot air on these cold winter days.

  4. Gwhizz says:03/12/2018 12:58 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dav View Post
    Nice to have a bit of hot air on these cold winter days.
    Yup, thanks for supplying it Dav.

  5. local says:04/12/2018 10:17 AM
    Poor Liz the realities of business life bought to your door and hopefully the realisation that Labours policies don't work.

    On one hand you want increased spending or an "end to austerity" whatever that means but the very people who pay the taxes to help fund the "end to austerity" are telling you they are paying too much.

    So you inevitably point towards "the rich" to pay as everyone likes to poke the rich but with the world as it is the very rich just go away and take their money with them.

    If Labour had someone to get to grips with the bigger questions then that might help them.

    At the moment they have no cohesive policies on either the economy or the hot topic Brexit.

    The loser in all this is your average joe Labour has abandoned them and they turn to the Conservatives or more likely don't vote at all, after all when they do vote for something their representatives set about frustrating it.

  6. gazaprop says:04/12/2018 03:50 PM
    Once you lot have stopped throwing your toys at each other might I suggest something ?

    The High Street, for major branded stores, is on it's last legs. Figures mentioned on the radio news yesterday highlighted an increase in on-line sales from 3% to 17% over the last 5 years - there is nothing to suggest this trend will not continue apace.
    What should be done is reduce business rates by a meaningfull amount and offer incentives to landlords to do likewise with rents. Shops selling to niche markets or with an 'exclusive' image should be encouraged to set up stores.
    Chapel Street should be de-pedestrianised
    Shop space in areas that have seen multiple failing start ups should be taken on by the Council (using grant money from Central Government, Lottery etc), and community assets such as 3G pitches, basketball courts, indoor cricket nets, even an ice rink built in or on the sites.
    A more imaginative approach other than blaming the other lot whilst using childish pejorative names would be welcome, of that I'm sure.

  7. Gwhizz says:05/12/2018 12:30 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by local View Post
    Poor Liz the realities of business life bought to your door... frustrating it.
    The accuracy for your post was set in the very first sentence... given that it was Labour going out and about then hardly "brought to your door" was it?

    Can't actually be bothered going through the rest as it's your normal anti-Labour diatribe but I suggest you actually read up on the policies before posting, it might at the very least help you look better informed.

  8. Gwhizz says:05/12/2018 12:45 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by gazaprop View Post
    Once you lot .... of that I'm sure.
    There's no doubt there's a major shift in retail going on, it's something mentioned at the bottom of the piece... we are seeing a real restructuring and it will go more social, niche and habitat/accommodation I suspect. The type of thing you are suggesting sounds grand but would require real government investment and sadly there is little chance of that under the Tories... grant money, for instance, has been slashed in the last 8 years.

  9. nosobored says:06/12/2018 03:46 PM
    I can translate what Gwhizz is saying into English.What he is saying is that after a labour government comes to power ,The high street wont be a problem any more because the Labour party intends to tax business out of existence,There restructuring will be converting the shops into accommodation for minority groups and immigrants and LGBT activists,Goods will be on sale on line from the Labour party's sponsors in Russia china Iran and Venezuela.The only problem with that will be there wont be any money left because of the Labour party's senseless fiscal policy's and extravagant borrowing,But it wont matter because we will be communists and the people will own everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gwhizz View Post
    There's no doubt there's a major shift in retail going on, it's something mentioned at the bottom of the piece... we are seeing a real restructuring and it will go more social, niche and habitat/accommodation I suspect. The type of thing you are suggesting sounds grand but would require real government investment and sadly there is little chance of that under the Tories... grant money, for instance, has been slashed in the last 8 years.


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