'Cut business rates to boost shopping' – calls for people to sign Save our Shops campaign in Poole (From Bournemouth Echo)
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'Cut business rates to boost shopping' – calls for people to sign Save our Shops campaign in Poole
THE chairman of Poole Town Centre Partnership has thrown his weight behind a national campaign to halt the decline in high street shops.
Jonathan Sibbett is supporting the Save Our Shops campaign, which is urging people to sign a petition calling for an overhaul of the business rates system.
“Business rates are a key factor in the mix contributing to the decline in town centres across the UK,” said Jonathan, who has signed the petition and sent a letter of support to the business editor.
“As a partnership of local businesses, retailers and the local council, we’re in a position to see the direct impact this has on the local economy, particularly when coupled with tough trading conditions.
“Over the last few years, many landlords have taken a realistic and pragmatic approach to rents, offering support to retain good retail tenants and to attract new tenants during this difficult time.
“The same approach is needed with business rates.
“Introducing a new system capable of reflecting the local situation and offering local authorities and communities the flexibility and control to encourage innovation and new business start-ups, is key to creating a thriving town.”
He added: “We’re in a fortunate position where working with the local authority to speed up change of use and remove obstacles for new start-ups is starting to pay dividends, but more fundamental support is needed and a change in business rates is key.”
The campaign is calling for the outdated system to be scrapped and to consider replacing it with local sales taxes.
Earlier this year the Daily Echo counted more than 40 shops and retail units sitting empty in Poole town centre, with a number of big names and local shops going under.
In August the partnership launched a five-year plan to boost the town centre with a range of improvements aimed at making it “the best town centre experience in Dorset”.
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