Labour pledges to revitalise high streets


Labour pledges to revitalise our high streets.

Thousands of pubs, shops and bank branches have shut under the last thirteen years of Tory economic mismanagement.

In our own towns in the Hexham Constituency and Northumberland we can see evidence of this first hand with shops closing or closed in Hexham, Prudhoe, Haltwhistle, and elsewhere.

High streets have been the target of rising costs due to Tory economic mismanagement, steep tax rises and spiking energy bills. Meanwhile, a decade of low growth means footfall has plummeted across the country and firms have struggled to attract customers.

Local economies impacted by these harsh increases have led to more boarded-up shops, making high streets less pleasant places to shop, eat and relax.

The Tories failure to tackle crimes like anti-social behaviour also means local people are less likely to visit local high streets.

Local customers across the UK have also fallen victim to the harsh increase in price of everyday essentials, as costs have skyrocketed by a further £3,500 due to Tory mismanagement of the cost of living crisis.

New analysis shows the UK has lost over 6,000 pubs, nearly 4,000 local shops and 9,000 bank branches from local high streets under the Conservatives.


As Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves visit Great Yarmouth, the Labour Party launches a new five point plan to revitalise local high streets and reverse 13 years of decline for beloved local shops, pubs and entertainment facilities. The plan will reverse 13 years of decline and revitalise local high streets, with policies to cut business rates, cut energy bills, stamp out late payments, revamp empty shops and tackle anti-social behaviour.

Speaking ahead of the visit to a high street in Great Yarmouth, Labour leader Keir Starmer said:

“Britain’s businesses already give so much to our economy, and hold a huge amount of potential and promise just waiting to be unlocked. But they’re being held back by 13 years of Tory economic failure. The Tories crashed the economy, and business and working people are still paying the price on higher interest rates. With our five point plan, Labour will work in partnership with businesses and local communities to get our high streets thriving again. This is just one of the ways we will deliver our mission to secure the highest growth in the G7, so every part of our country can feel better off.” 


The 5 Point Plan to revitalize our high streets

Cut small business rates: Labour would cut business rates for small businesses by raising the threshold for Small Business Rates Relief in 2023-24. The cut would be paid for by raising the Digital Services Tax paid by online giants like Amazon. Average saving assumes Labour’s policy applies to a pub, restaurant or café with median rateable value as recorded by the Valuation Office Agency.


Cut energy bills: Labour would allocate £700 million to support small businesses to cut their energy bills in the long term. The scheme would give vouchers to small firms to install energy saving measures such as insulation, heat pumps or a switch to electric vehicles. The scheme would be administered as a voucher scheme with small business able to claim for energy saving measures purchased from a list of approved suppliers. The scheme would be paid for by Labour’s proposed fixes to the windfall tax on oil and gas giants.


Stamp out late payments: Labour would introduce tough new laws to tackle late payments. The legislation would require big businesses to report on their company’s payment practices in their annual reports. This measure will require audit committees to report on late payments, making boards more accountable and providing further clarity for smaller businesses. Large companies have a duty to report publicly on their payment policies, practices and performance. However, this reporting process is not integrated into the financial reporting process of these companies, and many companies continue to pay their suppliers late at the expense of smaller businesses.


Revamp empty shops: Labour would give councils new powers to take over empty shops and reopen them without consent from the property’s owners. Empty Shop Orders would see councils work with owners to bring empty shops back into use after 12 months of vacancy. Councils would have the power to secure management rights, carry out works and put the property to use, with rent revenues being directed back to the owner. The premises would be offered to local small business for a discounted rent.


Tackle anti-social behaviour: Labour would introduce new town centre police patrols and a mandatory antisocial behaviour police lead for every local neighbourhood as part of Labour’s Neighbourhood Police Guarantee with 13,000 neighbourhood police and PCSOs. We would also implement a statutory duty for local partners to cooperate to tackle antisocial behaviour, with mandatory antisocial behaviour officers in every local authority area.

This will be paid for with Labour’s Neighbourhood Policing Guarantee through a Police Efficiency & Collaboration programme, establishing:

  • Centralised standard-setting for procurement
  • Increased collaboration on shared services and specialist functions