Umunna: Don’t let Portas report go to waste

Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary, comments on Mary Portas' report on the high street:

“Mary Portas’ report is a call to action to save our high streets, which have been hit hard by the Government’s VAT hike at the beginning of this year and are suffering from the decision to cut spending and raise taxes too far and too fast, hitting consumer spending.

“Labour has been calling for action to help our struggling high streets and shops up and down the country by promoting the positive use of empty shops, giving local people the power to shape retail plans for their area and by introducing a competition test in the planning system.

“A temporary VAT cut, which we have called on the Government to enact as part of Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth, would put £450 in the pocket of each family and would provide real help for high streets now.

“The government must act urgently to tackle the problems which Mary Portas identifies in her report, give full consideration to her recommendations and ensure that her efforts do not go to waste."