'˜Perfect storm' threatens our high streets

High streets are facing 'a perfect storm of spiralling business rates and ever-increasing rents' meaning many firms are struggling to keep their heads above water, says the body representing small businesses in North Yorkshire.

Carolyn Frank, a development manager for the Federation Businesses in North Yorkshire, issued the warning as The Yorkshire Post launched the Love Your High Street campaign to focus attention on what can be done to support small shops and businesses.

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This newspaper will be encouraging all readers to make a conscious decision to shop locally and spend some time and money with the shops, small businesses and independent traders who ensure our communities remain vibrant places to live.

PIC: James Hardisty

And we will call for more direct action, driving home the message to the Treasury and MPs that our outdated business rates need urgent reform to lessen the burden on independent traders.

Ms Frank said there were many examples of high streets in North Yorkshire working hard to succeed, with Richmond a finalist this year in the Great British High Street awards.

But she said: “Small retailers in particular, are facing a perfect storm of spiralling business rates and ever-increasing rents. On top of this, high parking charges, poor infrastructure and the loss of vital banking services, have added to the woes of small businesses. While we understand there’s no quick fix for the high street, it’s clear something needs to be done to lessen the pressure on small firms.”