Off The Fence with Stephen Morgan MP for Portsmouth South: "We can bring our shopping areas back from the brink"
Like many high streets up and down our country, Palmerston Road has been neglected and left to its demise under a Government that does not recognise the huge potential of our city.
Since 2010 when the Conservatives went into Government, the UK has lost over 6,000 pubs, nearly 4,000 local shops and 9,000 bank branches from local high streets.
It is clear our local businesses are also suffering because of soaring energy costs and regressive business rates preventing them from reaching their full potential.
From the large department stores of Palmerston Road to boarded up shops on Arundel Street, Portsmouth has seen the loss of popular and much-loved institutions which ordinarily would have thrived.
That’s why securing the investment Portsmouth deserves has been one of my top priorities in Parliament, but failure of investment by Government and the failure of leadership on the council has continued to hold Portsmouth’s economy back and let our communities down.
The Government overlooked my #BacktheBid campaign which would have seen our area secure vital levelling up funding to revitalise key sites across the city centre and revitalise Guildhall Walk.
I am determined as MP for Portsmouth South to do whatever I can to support local businesses to thrive. The time is long overdue to reverse 14 years of decline and revitalise shopping areas in our city to make them a place to be proud of once again.
High street businesses shouldn’t face big tax hikes whilst online giants are let off the hook. That’s why I am backing plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a system that is fairer for bricks and mortar businesses.
Where many high street businesses face an uncertain future due to spiking energy bills, Labour in government will act to help them cut their bills for good with vouchers for energy efficiency measures.
We will stamp out late payments and give councils new powers to take over empty shops, ensuring all buildings are put back to good use.
Labour’s plans bring a sense of hope back to Portsmouth’s small businesses that have suffered the consequences of high street demise.
With a government-led strategy and the political will to deliver it, we can bring our shopping areas back from the brink again.