Andrew Rosindell – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Communities and Local Government

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Rosindell on 2016-04-25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking in Romford to encourage the use of local shopping centres.

Mr Marcus Jones

The Government is committed to helping our high streets and town centres, including shopping centres, thrive and is supporting them through a £1 billion package of investment, which includes:

  • targeted tax breaks;
  • the doubling of small business rate relief;
  • sensible planning changes to allow businesses to respond flexibly to changing market conditions;
  • and taking action to tackle over-zealous parking practices.

As a result, we have seen some very positive signs this that our local centres are fighting back. Vacancy rates, including those in shopping centres, are in decline, retail sales are up for the 35th consecutive month, the longest period of sustained growth since 2008.

The Future High Street Forum is a joint partnership between government and the retail, leisure and property industries. It is leading an ambitious programme of work, including looking at town centre restructuring and the digital high street, to support town centres to meet the changing needs of today’s consumer. The broader retail sector can thrive if it adapts to these changing needs.

We have also run the Great British High Street Awards since 2014, which has championed the hard work of local businesses and communities around the country. With nearly 200,000 votes cast in the public voting element in the 2015 Awards, the competition proves how much local people cherish our high streets and town centres. I hope Romford will consider entering in the 2016 Awards when it opens later this year.