Big Red Sales boss pleads with Government to ‘get tough’ to save high street
In a letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times published last week (14 February) he praised the controversial proposed tax for online sales as “wonderful news”, but added: “I have sympathy with the Government’s efforts on many fronts, but it must take more action on the decline of our high streets”.
He continued: “While our shops struggle under the burden of high rates, rents and fixed costs, the abuse and avoidance of our tax system by businesses such as Amazon is obscene. It is time to get tough.”
Mr Reddington later told ERT: “Our local high street shops, not least our electrical retailers, have proved their immense value to consumers during lockdown. ‘Local’ has become a very key word during the pandemic as consumers have really appreciated their high street traders. And the lengths to which these retailers have gone to serve them.
“This is something we must cling on to. The Government must act quickly if we are to maintain our local neighbourhoods.”
This view is shared by Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, who recently reacted to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s road map plan for ending lockdown restrictions.
Referring to the fact that non-essential retail stores will have to remain closed for a little while longer, Ms Dickinson said the Government should remain flexible and allow them to reopen as soon as the data suggests it is safe to do so.
“Until it is permitted, retailers will need continued support from Government,” she said. “We welcome the PM’s call ‘not to pull the rug out’ from under businesses. To this end, the Government must act on three vital issues – rents, rates and grants.
“To avoid further job losses and permanent job closures, the Chancellor must announce a targeted business rates relief from April and extend the moratorium on debt enforcement, as well as removing state aid caps on COVID business grants. This would relieve struggling businesses of bills they cannot currently pay and allow them to trade their way to recovery.”