New analysis by Labour has today revealed the 20 places across the country most at risk of hollowed out high streets because they have the highest proportion of hospitality, tourism, retail and leisure businesses – as firms warn they will go bust without further action from government.
Across England, 11.7 per cent of all businesses are hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail businesses, like hotels and B&Bs, restaurants and pubs, clothes and book shops, travel agencies, hairdressing and beauty salons. In London, the figure is 12.6 per cent.
These types of high street businesses have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic and are facing a cash crisis. Closed from trading yet facing shrinking government support, with cash grants worth just a fraction of the amount made available during the first lockdown, they are experiencing dwindling cash reserves, burdened with debt, and fast approaching a dead end in multiple government support schemes.
Analysis of ONS data has revealed the places in England with a higher than average proportion of these businesses, with local economies therefore most reliant on their trade and most at risk if these businesses go bust:
- Isles of Scilly – 44.4 per cent
- Torbay – 20.3 per cent
- Cornwall – 20.2 per cent
- Isle of Wight – 20.2 per cent
- Blackpool – 17.7 per cent
- Brighton – 17.4 per cent
- Rutland – 17.2 per cent
- York – 16.6 per cent
- Thurrock – 15.9 per cent
- Bath and North Somerset – 15.7 per cent
- Dorset – 15.5 per cent
- Cumbria – 15.4 per cent
- Devon – 15.4 per cent
- East Sussex – 14.9 per cent
- Southend on sea – 14.7 per cent
- North Yorkshire – 14.2 per cent
- Nottingham – 14.2 per cent
- Northumberland – 14 per cent
- Herefordshire – 13.8 per cent
- Shropshire – 13.4 per cent
Some of these areas, particularly Cornwall, Dorset and Devon, are facing a double whammy – with reports of the fishing industry also struggling with the impact of new regulations and customs checks. Labour has called for the Government to urgently listen to businesses and get a grip on the problems they are facing at ports.
Labour is backing these businesses and places. The Party has urged the Government to confirm it will extend the 100 per cent business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for at least another six months; continue the reduced rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors; and to give businesses greater flexibility to manage debt including student loan style arrangements.
Luke Pollard, the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said:
“We had seen our communities being hollowed out before the virus. A growth in second homes, empty for much of the year, and changes in shopping put pressure on village pubs and shops.
“The south west is a beautiful part of the world and I want to welcome tourists again when it’s safe to do so. Keeping businesses afloat until they can trade properly is essential or the hollowing out will continue affecting local people and tourists alike.”