Revo's reaction to the General Election 2017.09 June 2017
Responding to the results of the General Election, Revo is calling for the major parties to come together around the negotiating table and find a solution in order to form a viable government which works in the national interest. Continued uncertainty at home and abroad only causes further harm to the economy.
It is imperative that whoever forms the next Government hits the ground running on critical issues that affect business and the economy, such as business rates and infrastructure investment, as well as our relationship with the European Union.
We are waiting for much needed reforms and our political leaders must set aside their differences and come together in the national interest.
Ed Cooke, Chief Executive of Revo, said: “For too long there has been electoral uncertainty and today’s mixed result means the parties must now come together in the national interest to form a viable government as soon as possible. Now is the time for bold leadership and for decisive government.
“The world around us is evolving at an extraordinary rate, bringing both challenges and opportunities. Policy must be developed in partnership with industry to ensure the country is equipped to meet the future social and business challenges, and embrace the opportunities to futureproof the UK’s position on the global stage.
“The retail, retail property and placemaking sector is a cornerstone of the UK economy, helping to generate more than £25 billion in taxes each year and supporting over 3 million jobs. The primary concern for retailers and other occupiers at home and abroad is the overwhelming burden of business rates. Whatever shape the next Government takes it must deliver reform to the system, and reduce the burden, to allow our industry to thrive and prosper.
“We await the outcome of negotiations but our businesses, communities and our places cannot be left wondering indefinitely. It is vital that the needs of businesses invested in towns and cities across the UK are not overlooked in the coming days.”
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 impacting 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.