Support for our wonderful high streets

I have always loved living in Haringey – an area that has such an abundance of independent shops and small businesses. As the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, I am proud to represent such an entrepreneurial and vibrant area.

It’s the traders themselves and customers that make the high streets – but in these tough economic times, the Government should step in too, to help out small businesses and retailers.

So, I am very pleased that the Coalition Government has made significant changes, such as:

  • Reducing the rates bill of small businesses, shops, and pubs by £1000 for the next two years.
  • Continuing the doubled small business rates relief for another year.
  • Introducing a reoccupation relief, which will halve rates for 18 months when a business takes over a long-term empty shop.
  • Giving local authorities the power to provide additional rate relief for eligible businesses (but not pay day lenders, betting shops or pawnbrokers).

We are also encouraging innovation through the Future High Streets Forum, which will advise the Government on how to continue improving the high street environment.

It is so important that this help is provided – to encourage small businesses, to support retailers, and to keep our high streets diverse and vibrant.

Unfortunately, our local Labour-run Council don’t seem to share this sentiment – they have raised high street parking charges to £3 per hour. Traders say this is harming their businesses and forcing shoppers to go to superstores with cheap or free parking.

The Coalition Government has also launched a consultation about how to address this kind of unnecessary behaviour by local authorities. You can contribute here.

The economy is improving, and 600 new enterprises have opened in our area since 2011. The Lib Dems in Government will keep fighting to ensure that the UK is open for business, and that small businessmen and retailers see the benefits of the economic recovery.