Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne is supporting a Parliamentary motion against the Government’s planning changes which will deny communities the right to shape their high streets and stop payday lending and betting shops from taking over.
The new rules mean that a number of types of business will no longer have to apply for permission to convert a building for a new business or residential use. This will make it easier for payday lenders, betting shops, fast food restaurants and the other businesses to continue their sprawl along the high street and will make it harder for councils and communities to have a say in the future of their town centres.
Nationally there are 20% more payday loan shops than a year ago and 3.3% more betting shops. These are taking the place of independent retailers, clothes shops and health food shops.
Along with handing power to local communities, Labour also wants to help small businesses who are likely to be the independent retailers on our high streets by cutting businesses rates for small businesses if a Labour government is elected in 2015 and it will freeze business rates for small businesses the year after, leading to a saving of at least £450 per year.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Our local town centre should be at the heart of our community but here in Tameside and Stockport many independent retailers are struggling and we are seeing an increase in the numbers of payday lenders and betting shops.
“Tameside should be commended for establishing Town Teams, and the one in Denton is certainly making a difference; and in Stockport, the Reddish Councillors have been at the forefront of establishing a Reddish Business Forum, which is having a similar affect.
“I want to see real power given to local people to stand up for their high street and ensure that it is somewhere that they and their neighbours want to shop and spend time, by allowing councils to encourage the types of businesses they want to see whilst cutting down on the spread of others like payday lenders.
“The Government is doing the opposite of what Labour has been calling for by denying, rather than strengthening, the right of local people to have a say in the future of their high street. Unlike the Tories and Lib Dems, Labour is supporting our independent retailers, small businesses and high streets who are feeling the cost of living squeeze by pledging to cut businesses rates for small businesses in 2015 and freezing them the year after.”
Link to Andrew Gwynne MP’s speech in the High Streets debate – House of Commons (16 Oct 2013)