Creating Place: A retail property & placemaking manifesto for General Election 201711 May 2017
Revo publishes 14 point Election Manifesto to support UK retail & real estate
Revo, the organisation representing the retail property and placemaking industries which together contribute more than £20 billion in taxes annually to the UK economy, has issued a set of demands to the main political parties contesting the upcoming General Election, to ensure the support and future growth of the retail property sector which is integral to creating sustainable communities across the UK. The fourteen point plan (set out in full below), which includes calls to action on business rates, planning and housing development, and education and skills, has been delivered to all major political parties ahead of the General Election on 8 June.
Ed Cooke, Chief Executive of Revo, said: “This election manifesto is about ensuring that the new Government provides the necessary support to retailers, retail property investors and all those involved in shaping the UK’s towns and communities, to guarantee sustainable growth and prosperity.
“The world around us evolving at an extraordinary rate, bringing both challenges and opportunities; at this crucial time, it is imperative that decision makers are attuned to these changes and policy is structured in such a way that we are equipped to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities to futureproof the UK’s position on the global stage.
“To this end, we are calling for a fundamental reform of the business rates system, which in its current form acts as a tax on regeneration and a deterrent to businesses investing in the UK. We are also urging the new Government to make a long overdue change to national planning policy, to enable the homes to be delivered in the vibrant, urban locations where people want to live and encourage investment into much needed infrastructure, unlocking significant latent potential.
“While we acknowledge the challenges facing the Government around the UK’s exit from the EU, it is crucial the needs of UK towns and communities are not overlooked.”
Highlights of the Revo Manifesto, Creating Place: A retail property & placemaking manifesto for General Election 2017, include:
Business rates must be fairer and more competitive:
The UK currently has the highest business rates in the G7, inflicting a financially unsustainable burden on businesses and impacts on the UK’s international competitiveness. Revo has called for a business rates system that takes the same approach as corporation tax, by creating an internationally competitive rate that can be adjusted to reflect changing economic conditions, that encourages investment and is, crucially, fair.
As an interim measure, Revo proposes that the new Government:
- should move forward the timetable in linking the multiplier to CPI indexation to before 2020; and
- must better incentivise businesses that invest and improve their properties, rather than penalise them through rising rates bills.
Planning and housing policy can stimulate urban development and build successful and sustainable communities if tackled holistically:
The Government must focus on creating sustainable places and communities that people can work, live and play in.
To fast-track the delivery of much needed new homes in town centres, the National Planning Policy Framework requires fundamental change. In its response to the Government’s white paper, Fixing our broken housing market, Revo argues housing should be designated as a ‘main town centre use’, to enable more homes to be delivered in the urban locations where people want to live.
Revo has led the national debate on the Future of the High Street, suggesting that the Government is failing to recognise how homes in town centres are vital to rejuvenating town centres, alongside retail and leisure uses. A careful balance must be found to both solve the housing shortfall, while also ensuring local businesses that give character and life to our communities can thrive.
Infrastructure investment is key to unlocking our potential and building our connectivity:
Infrastructure at national and local level has a critical role in the creation and development of place, but it has been chronically under-funded. The upgrade and maintenance of infrastructure, including physical and digital infrastructure, must be delivered within an overarching strategic vision.
Investment in a range of new build, maintenance and renewal projects in towns and cities will better enable economic growth through improved connectivity for businesses and consumers. Streamlining logistics and improving footfall will attract retailers and investors to urban centres outside the capital and ensure sustainability and better community engagement. Working with private investors and developers, a higher proportion of the existing public infrastructure funding available and distributed through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) should be allocated for smaller scale infrastructure improvements to support the adaptation of our physical retail environments.
Workforce has to be properly skilled in the face of revolutionary consumer change:
The retail sector, which employs upwards of 3 million people across the UK, has been revolutionised by technological and societal change. To ensure that the UK remains an attractive location for investment and sits at the forefront of developments in omnichannel retailing, skills shortages need to be addressed at both basic entry and executive level.
Injecting much needed flexibility into the use of funding available through the Apprenticeships Levy scheme would help our industry develop and expand successful programmes to help young people and those retraining into work in our sector, and allow resources to be more widely applied to upskilling our evolving workforce.
For more information:
Claire Turvey / Andrew Scorgie / Methuselah Tanyanyiwa / George Robinson
+44 (0)20 3727 1000