Government measures to help retailers affected by this week’s riots get back on their feet — including suspension of business rates and help for uninsured firms — have been welcomed by the industry.
Prime Minister David Cameron outlined the measures in a bid to provide support for shop owners as they strive to recover from the damage done to their businesses.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the temporary suspension of business rates for affected premises would help shops facing cash flow problems, while reassurance that stores with inadequate insurance will have access to compensation offered a “lifeline” to many small businesses.
However, it insists the short-term help proposed by the government needs to be followed up by a long-term plan of action to revitalise urban shopping areas.
“Our biggest fear is that otherwise successful retailers are pushed into insolvency by the events of this week,” said Robertson.
“Suspending business rates on wrecked shops, flexibility on VAT collection and reassurance that shortfalls in insurance cover will be made up will all help substantially minimise that risk. Planning flexibilities on security measures should also extend to rebuilding.”
Robertson said it was important not to lose sight of the bigger issue facing the UK’s high streets.
“When the rubble has been cleared away and stores have reopened, there will be bigger, underlying problems still to address,” he said. “We look forward to working with the Government to establish an action plan which will give our communities the vibrant, well-kept and successful high streets they deserve.”