Published: 6th Jun 2019

The directly-elected mayor of the West Midlands has called for town centres to be turned into ‘free trade zones’ to help struggling high street shops. Speaking in front of the treasury parliamentary select committee earlier this week, Andy Street, who is also the former managing director of John Lewis said the current business rate system must be overhauled in order to help town centres. In particular, Mr Street called for reduced rates for new and expanding businesses, as well as a 100% relief for public sector organisations who bring their services into high street units. ‘If we are genuinely determined to change our town centres, and not just to protect retail—retailers are part of the component—is that we need to be moving to a more wholesale, structural piece, something like a free trade or enterprise zone in the town centres,’ he told MPs. ‘You could exempt public services from paying … (To read the full article, subscribe below)