Loneliness of empty shops

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THIS week’s new figures on shop vacancies in our region make for worrying reading. Although nationally shop vacancy has declined, in the North West vacancy rates have increased.

The vacancy rate now stands at 17 per cent, more than twice the percentage in London. Couple this with the difference in housing markets and it seems that the North/South divide is getting worse, not better.

The North West Green Party would like to see more support for small independent shops that are in direct competition with supermarkets.

In light of the alarming vacancy rates on our high streets we’re re-iterating our call for councils to support the ‘Robin Hood’ levy. This would see supermarkets with rateable values of more than £500,000 paying an additional 8.5 per cent on business rates. It’s fair for big supermarkets invest some of their massive profits.

Peter Cranie

North West Green Party