General Election 2019 | Retail and Brexit
Will Dixon, Revo's Research and Campaign Executive, reflects on what yesterday's monumentous general election means for the future of retail and placemaking.
Brexit deciding factor in Conservative's landslide win
Now the third election in 5 years has come to a close, it is evident the political map has been redrawn. The ‘Red Wall’, which stretched from Wales to Humberside, has been breached and many constituencies have turned from red to blue for the first time in 100 years. Brexit appears to have been the deciding factor.
The much espoused Conservative message of ‘Get Brexit Done’ has infiltrated Labour strongholds and caused people who ten years ago might have never considered voting Conservative to do so in unprecedented numbers. As the dust settles on the largest Conservative victory since the 1980s, we examine what this means for retail and our high streets.
The future of the high street and retail
The future of the high street and retail has been a hot topic at both fringe events attended by Revo at the Tory conference and within their manifesto as well. From analysing these it is possible to ascertain what the next 5 years will hold. Read our summaries of the Conservative Party Conference and Labour Party Conference.
The Conservative manifesto highlights a number of issues affecting the retail industry. Regarding business rates, the manifesto states that “we will cut the burden of tax on business by reducing business rates...we will further reduce business rates for retail businesses”, stating that this will keep town centres vibrant and protect the high street.
Likewise, the new Towns Fund the manifesto states that this will help: regenerate towns - allowing local people to make decisions that impacts them, thriving high streets, community ownership - establishing a £150 million Community Ownership Fund to encourage local takeovers of civic organisations or assets that are under threat, and community spirit - through a Cultural Investment Fund, supporting activities, events and traditions.
This emphasis on community ownership was a much discussed topic during the Conservative Party conference. At the Stronger Communities fringe event the mayors of the West Midlands and Tees Valley, Andy Street and Ben Houchen respectively, spoke at length about how the devolution of powers to the mayoral and local level would allow communities to make decisions on a variety of different issues including homelessness and climate change.
Whilst a Government with a strong majority has returned to Westminster for the first time since 2015, there is still the issue of Brexit hanging over Boris Johnson. Having set a date of 31st January as the deadline for the UK to leave the European Union, the Withdrawal Agreement should be passed, however Brexit will still remain the major focus of this new Government over the coming months and years.
Through our lobbying function, and influence within government, we will continue to represent your interests, holding politicians feet to the fire to ensure they deliver meaningful reform in terms of business rates, and ensuring the Towns Fund allocation goes to initiatives that will make a real difference to urban centres across the country.
At Revo, we support the people and businesses involved in the diverse world of retail property and placemaking to thrive and prosper. Get in touch to find out more.Back