Government panel will 'diagnose' high street issues

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

In decline: the challenges facing high street pubs will be examined by a government panel
In decline: the challenges facing high street pubs will be examined by a government panel

Related tags: High street, Government

A Government-appointed panel of experts will investigate the challenges facing businesses on British high streets, the high streets minister has announced.

Jake Berry MP, who is also pubs minister, said panellists will examine what communities want from their local high street and assess the challenges facing town centres.

The panel will be chaired by Sir John Timpson, who is the chairman of UK shoe repair chain Timpson.

The announcement followed the release of data showing high street pubs in decline. Analysts at Local Data Company stated 254 pubs were lost last year, at the same time coffee shops enjoyed a boom.

Community centres

High streets minister Jake Berry MP said: “High streets and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we want to see them thrive now and in the future.

“People care about their local high streets because they are the centres of their community.

“But our high streets are changing, and the Government is committed to helping communities adapt.

“High streets of the future will still be commercial centres but consumers now look for a wider range of experiences, from leisure to health services. Our future high streets may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning.”

"I want to thank Sir John who is bringing 50 years of direct retail experience to the review."

Cultural changes

It is thought pubs are suffering because of cultural changes to eating and drinking habits, with an upwards trend in healthy eating and a desire to drink less heavily.

A ‘staying in’ culture has also been aided by the advent of delivery food apps, like Deliveroo and UberEats; and subscription sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Timpson said: “Throughout my career, high streets and city centres have continually changed to fulfil the needs of society, but the recent shift towards more out-of-town and online shopping threatens the future of many high streets.

“The panel cannot offer an instant, quick-fix solution but we hope to identify practical and common sense decisions that will help the Government provide the support that local communities and businesses need to provide the leisure and shopping facilities people will want 25 years from now.”

Related topics: Legislation

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