What would Napoleon have made of this? His “nation of shopkeepers” is falling apart – all by itself.
And it’s all down to greed.
That would be greed by big companies, that are leaving the UK because they know a Tory-negotiated Brexit well mean a drop in profits.
Greed by company bosses who preferred to keep retail profits for themselves, rather than share them with staff.
Greed by central government, that has kept business rates too high to allow businesses to establish themselves on high streets.
Greed by shop landlords, who have pushed rents too high for businesses to be cost-effective in their spaces.
And greed by private car parking firms, making it impossible for shoppers to afford parking charges.
Most of the people named above are idiots.
Shop space that is occupied is better than shop space that is empty. It means retailers are making a profit and can afford to pay rents and business rates.
Some money is better than no money so any landlord with empty shops is a bad landlord and deserves to go bankrupt, and any government that sets business rates so high that retailers can’t afford to occupy the space is a bad government.
And any private car parking company charging so much that most people can’t afford to park in their spaces is a bad car parking company. They may say it’s fine because some people can still afford their prices, but it’s better – obviously – if lots of people can afford them. That way, everybody wins.
The question that arises is, why would anybody want to create conditions that stop retailers from taking up shop space, or employees from taking jobs with those retailers, or shoppers from being able to park their cars near those stores?
And that brings us back to the companies that are leaving the UK because of Brexit. They are greedy and want too much profit so we should have very little sympathy for them.
But we should also have very little sympathy for a government that knows it is creating economic conditions that will drive these big employers away.
Until all of these situations change, the UK’s economy will remain in deep, deep trouble. Who does that help?
Labour has called on the UK Government to save Britain’s “dying” high-streets, as new figures published by the Party reveal that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost over the last three years.
New analysis by Labour of ONS figures released on Tuesday has revealed that a staggering 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in stores across Britain since 2015, with Labour blaming poor wage growth and the Government’s handling of Brexit.
Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has urged the Government to reform the business rates system to ease the burden on traditional high streets.
She also called for a register of landlords of empty shops, to make it easier to bring boarded up shops back into use, and an inquiry into excessive car parking charges levied by private firms.
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