May 8, 2012 The Telegraph By Simon Danczuk
Mary Portas’ term as Government adviser may be over but unlike previous celebrity advisers, her contribution won’t be forgotten in a hurry. She’s done more to champion the high street cause than anyone in recent years.
But now her Government Review is complete, ministers suddenly look very exposed and uncomfortable about the future of the Great British high street. For over a year her energy, passion and consummate PR skills have kept media attention away from weak and inadequate policy measures that were never going to stimulate the high street.
David Cameron said he wanted to do all he can to ensure high streets thrive. Then he introduced the biggest increase in business rates in 20 years. You can’t promise help and support then clobber businesses with bigger bills.
Here in the north west, there’s a growing sense that behind the headline-seeking rhetoric there’s precious little interest from government ministers in trying to help the high street. In the region with the highest number of empty shops in the UK, I’ve yet to hear one retailer enthuse about the Government’s response to the Mary Portas Review.
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