Huppert “Speaks for Britain” as he fights to save independent traders
Prime Minister, David Cameron has told Cambridge MP Julian Huppert that he is “speaking for Britain” in working to safeguard the country’s independent shops.
Julian, who launched his Discovering Cambridge competition to recognise and celebrate the city’s independent shops called on the government to do more to support those running their own businesses.
He raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, July 3) as the country marks the start of Independent Retailers’ Month.
Mr Cameron agreed that the government should be looking at the recommendations made by Mary Portas, the ‘Queen of Shops’ and working with local authorities to support town centres.
And he also said that that the government should be looking at the way the rates system works and the planning system to help town centres succeed.
Julian asked: “Does the Prime Minister agree that we should be doing more to support independent shops, to keep our high streets vibrant and creative and stop them being taken over by multiple retailers and the formation of clone towns?”
Mr Cameron said: “I do agree with him and I think he speaks for a lot on Britain on this issue. This is a vital issue for towns up and down the country and it has my full backing.
“We should be looking at our town centres and working out what we can do through the Portas Review and in other ways to back our town centres. We should be looking at the rates system and how that works and how we can use change of use to back our town centres, and work with local authorities who want to see our town centres succeed.”
Julian and Cambridge Liberal Democrats have been campaigning to protect traders in Mill Road and throughout the city from the threat from the giant retail chains.
They raised the so-called Cambridge amendment to the Localism Bill calling on the government to change planning law to give independent traders greater protection. Julian followed this up with a Private Member’s Bill to try to protect local independent pubs and shops.
Julian said later: “Our independent traders are so important to Cambridge and towns and cities across the country but they are struggling to cope against the march of the multi-nationals.
“My Discovering Cambridge competition has proved just how much people value them and I want to make sure this government knows how vital they are so that we can prevent our shopping centres from becoming clones of each other.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of this country; they are individual, unique and special and without them our town centres would lose their vitality.”
This month Julian’s Discovering Cambridge competition will be looking for the Best Independent Pub.
Nominations can be sent to Julian on Twitter @julianhuppert or Facebook, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Discovering Cambridge, Julian Huppert MP, 16 Signet Court, Swann Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LA.
Each month Julian asks for nominations in a different category, a monthly winner will be chosen and an overall winner will be announced at the end of the year at the Mill Road Winter Fair.