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Policies & Issues: Local Government

In many local areas, councils, businesses and other local partners are working effectively to provide the best possible environment in which to trade, shop and live, notwithstanding the current uncertain economic climate. Retailers often provide extensive resources to support the work of local partnerships (e.g. town centre management companies, Business Improvement Districts and Local Strategic Partnerships). These bodies have a vital role to play in the future success of local areas. We are keen to find an effective method to support the development of such partnerships in the future.


High streets and town centres across the UK are under increased pressure in this current economic downturn, with many retailers struggling to provide essential services and jobs to their local communities. At the same time, some high streets have been struggling for years, with significant structural challenges. The BRC strongly believes that a bright, post-recession future can be secured for town and city centres but, if this is to be achieved, it needs to be planned, managed and nurtured actively by all relevant stakeholders. The UK Government should provide the right policy and legislative frameworks to promote the vitality and viability of the UK's town and city centres, including an integrated and coherent strategic planning framework. There is also an opportunity for Government to provide a framework to monitor the heath of our town centres and high streets that will inform the continued effective management of healthy towns, address declining towns and assist decisions about future development in towns.

High street policy has been a top priority for the BRC for the past year, culminating in the launch of our report 21st Century High Streets - A new vision for our town centres. This publication sets out a twenty-point plan for securing the long-term future of town centre retailing well beyond the end of this recession. These key recommendations are underpinned by examples of excellent practice from across the UK, where civic vision, leadership and investment, combined with effective partnerships, have delivered thriving high streets.

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