“Ministers urged to provide rescue package for ailing high streets”

“The government should consider taxing online sales, deliveries or packaging and cutting property taxes for retailers as part of a package to help revive the UK’s ailing high streets, according to an influential group of MPs.

In a report published on Thursday, the housing communities and local government committee says local authorities need more help, including extra cash, to redevelop town centres. It also suggests an overhaul of planning regulations, including scrapping rules that allow developers to turn offices into flats without special permission.

Clive Betts MP, the chair of the committee, said it was likely that “the heyday of the high street primarily as a retail hub is at an end”. However, he added: “This need not be its death knell. Local authorities must get to grips with the fact that their town centres need to change; they need to innovate, setting out a long-term strategy for renewal, reconfiguring the town centre and finding new ways of using buildings and encouraging new independent retailers.”

Betts said dated planning policies and unfair business rates, which are a tax based on the value of property occupied by a business, were “stacking the odds against businesses with a high street presence and this must end”. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/21/ministers-urged-to-provide-rescue-package-for-ailing-high-streets