By Max Clarke
As the damage wrought by successive nights of rioting passed the £200 million mark, business groups cautioned the devastating, long-term damage it would cause to the UK’s struggling retailers.
Responding to the ‘appalling criminality’ that swept across England over the past week, the Government’s department for Business, Innovation and Skills has today extended a rescue package to shops affected by the disturbances.
Advice on how to obtain insurance; a £20million High Street Support Scheme; business rates relief for shops; improved access to finance; and a concessionary delay for tax payments are among the perks extended by government to alleviate the long term damage caused.
"The Prime Minister has listened to our pleas and satisfied the majority of them,” said Stephen Robertson, head of the British Retail Consortium. “The mindless damage done to shops over the past few days is in effect mindless damage to our communities. The Government has shown great willingness to work with retailers to put our streets back together.”
Prior to the violence, the UK’s high streets had faced mounting pressures, compounded by depressed consumer confidence across the UK. Vacancy rates were rising and decline becoming more apparent. Robertson continues:
"The retail sector has been battling difficult trading conditions for much of this year and sadly for some shops these attacks will be the final straw. Even where shops do manage to stay in business it is likely not all jobs will survive. Support for retailers will translate directly into support for employees, and preserve vital local services.
"Our high streets urgently need action which will revitalise them in the long-term. When the rubble has been cleared away and stores have reopened, there will be bigger, underlying problems still to address. We look forward to working with the Government to establish an action plan which will give our communities the vibrant, well-kept and successful high streets they deserve."
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