100k shops jobs lost ‘TORIES KILLING HIGH STREETS’

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Keir Mudie DEPUTY PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

AROUND 100,000 re­tail jobs have been axed in the last three years, with more losses to come, fig­ures re­veal.

Nearly a fifth of ma­jor stores say they plan staff cuts in the next three months, says the Bri­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium. Now Labour has called for ur­gent ac­tion in the wake of a string of col­lapses and branch clo­sures in­volv­ing big names such as House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Mother­care and New Look.

Shadow Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Rebecca Long­bai­ley, pic­tured left, said: “Our high streets are dy­ing but the Tories are do­ing noth­ing about it. They need to act quickly be­fore we be­come a na­tion of ghost towns.” She wants to see re­form in busi­ness rates and a regis­ter of land­lords of empty shops in each lo­cal au­thor­ity.

Labour also wants an in­quiry into ex­ces­sive park­ing charges levied by pri­vate firms. Re­search last year found 90 per cent of shop­pers would visit high streets more if park­ing was free.

Last year 4,000 high street shops opened but 5,800 closed, lat­est fig­ures show. A BRC sur­vey re­vealed 94 per cent of peo­ple say they miss the com­mu­nity feel of their high street.

SHOTS: Brook­lyn at Fash­ion Week

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