07 June 2018, 14:45 PM
  • The high street faces "complete annihilation" due to risks such as business rates, Labour has warned the government
Labour criticises government for state of the high street

Speaking to the Commons at an Opposition Day debate, Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, criticised the government for creating the current climate, and stated that it has failed to support retailers among a backdrop of problems.

Long-Bailey noted that 21,000 retail jobs had been put at risk in the first three months of 2018, and that the government has displayed a cavalier attitude to a review of business rates and the sustaining of wage growth. “This is a recipe for complete high street annihilation,” she said.

Businesses like Marks & Spencer - which announced it was closing 100 stores last month - that are “stalwarts of our high street” are disappearing at a rapid rate, the shadow business secretary mentioned.

In response to Long-Bailey’s criticisms, Greg Clark, business secretary said that store closures were not new in British retail.

Clark went on to say that the number of retailers going into administration had dropped in the past five years compared with the five years before. He mentioned the Co-op and Aldi as businesses that are currently flourishing, and that the British high street is “a story of constant change”.