By Marcus Leach

The Localism Bill, which received Royal Assent yesterday (Tuesday), gives communities the powers they need to shape where they live but reduces the risk of obstructing business growth, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) says.

The Government has made a number of amendments to the Bill which help provide greater business certainty.

In particular the BRC is pleased to see the Government has understood its concerns about small groups of local residents being able to call referendums on any subject.

This measure, which could have been used vexatiously and caused unpredictable delays, has rightly been abandoned. The Assets of Community Value provision, intended to allow communities to step in and protect a local resource, has also been more clearly defined. This ensures the proposals should no longer interfere with businesses' ability to trade or be a barrier to investment.

"Retailers are at the heart of local communities and only thrive by providing local people with what they want and need at prices they can afford. Consumers shape the retail environment where they live with the choices they make about how to spend their money," British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said.

"The Government has clearly listened to the case we made about the need to give businesses as much certainty as possible. This helps provide the necessary environment for investment and growth in the private sector. We look forward to more of this productive dialogue in future."

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