1,500 pubs, shops and banks close across Yorkshire over past decade
This compares to over 6,000 pubs across the UK, as well as nearly 4,000 local shops and 9,000 bank branches.
Labour today will set out its five-point plan to revitalise highstreets which includes cutting business rates for small businesses, penalties for late payments to local firms from big clients, and powers for local councils to bring disused buildings back to life.
The party said that local economies had been impacted by “harsh increases” in energy bills and tax rises which have led to more boarded-up shops which have made high streets less pleasant places to shop, eat and relax.
Labour added that it would also provide local areas with vouchers for energy efficiency measures, such as double-glazing for a local cinema struggling with energy bill payments, in addition to getting more neighbourhood policing teams to tackle antisocial behaviour.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Pubs are a vital part of so many high streets across the country and without support there is a risk that these much-loved community hubs will be lost.
“It is positive to see the Labour Party developing ideas to address some of the issues these businesses face and help pubs to remain at the heart of high streets and communities.”
It comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its forecast for the UK economy for the next two years, but still expects it to grow slower than other G7 countries.
UK output is expected to contract by 0.3 per cent this year before rebounding to grow by 1% next year, economists working for the body said.
It puts the UK firmly at the bottom in the G7 group of advanced economies this year. The only other economy that the IMF expects to decline is Germany’s, which is expected to contract by 0.1 per cent.
But it is at least better news than a previous IMF forecast, which predicted that the economy would shrink by 0.6 per cent this year.
IMF director of research Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas said: “The UK economy seems to be doing a little bit worse than some other comparable economies (because) there is a higher dependence on imported energy with a high share of gas – and with the gas prices we’ve had last year, that’s a major negative trade shock – there’s a fairly tight labour market and so there has been a need for fairly aggressive tightening of monetary policy.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Thanks to the steps we have taken, the OBR says the UK will avoid recession, and our IMF growth forecasts have been upgraded by more than any other G7 country.
“The IMF now say we are on the right track for economic growth. By sticking to the plan we will more than halve inflation this year, easing the pressure on everyone.”
Speaking ahead of a visit to a high street in Great Yarmouth today, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said: “Britain’s businesses already give so much to our economy, and hold a huge amount of potential and promise just waiting to be unlocked.
“But they’re being held back by 13 years of Tory economic failure. The Tories crashed the economy, and business and working people are still paying the price on higher interest rates.
“With our five point plan, Labour will work in partnership with businesses and local communities to get our high streets thriving again.
“This is just one of the ways we will deliver our mission to secure the highest growth in the G7, so every part of our country can feel better off.”