Huppert backs plans to revitalise shopping centre

February 16, 2010 9:35 AM
Julian Huppert

Julian Huppert

Julian Huppert, Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge has backed Lib Dem plans to revitalise the city's shopping centre as figures show that more than 11 per cent of shops are empty.

The plans, outlined by Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg protect independent traders and the future of the Post Office and help small businesses establish and grow in a fairer market place.

Cambridge has faired slightly better than average during the recession; but it has still lost 11.4 per cent of its shops.

A report published by the Local Data Company showed that on average Great Britain has lost 12 per cent of its shops and vacancies shot up by 24 per cent in the second half of 2009.

Julian said: "Even before the credit crunch hit, small independent shops were struggling in Cambridge.

"The Government's skewed planning system has seen supermarket giants squeeze the life out of towns like ours and now almost every high street in Britain is an identical collection of chain stores and coffee shops.

"We need a thriving high street in Cambridge, one with real character that allows local businesses to survive and grow. The financial crisis has exposed Labour and the Conservatives' folly of being entirely dependent on the City of London. The Liberal Democrats understand that it will be small businesses that are key to building a healthy and balanced economy."

The Lib Dems plans:

• encourage the development of a PostBank and free the Post Office from the Royal Mail to enable it to develop new business;

• introduce a local competition test for all planning applications for new retail developments to establish a fairer balance between local independent stores and large supermarkets;

• establish a system of Local Enterprise Funds and regional stock exchanges to ensure small businesses get access to cost effective equity that meets their needs.

Nick Clegg said: "Thriving high streets are at the heart of local communities. But it has been our high streets that have borne the brunt of this recession, with boarded up shops scarring towns and villages across Britain.

"I believe that people value the wide range of goods and services available locally and want to see their high streets thrive and prosper."

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