Express & Star comment: Penny drops over action to tackle High Street woes
The news that Poundworld has entered administration is another devastating blow to the high street.
The retailer is on the ropes after last-ditch sales talks broke down, putting 5,100 jobs at risk and adding another to the ever-growing list of major stores to hit troubled times.
This year both Maplin and Toys R Us have disappeared from the high street, while Carpetright, Mothercare and New Look are all in the middle of sweeping store closure programmes.
Most recently, House of Fraser has announcement that it is to close 31 stores, including Beatties in Wolverhampton. There is no doubt that the picture is a bleak one.
It no longer comes as a surprise when we hear that another of our high street staples is struggling.
In the not-too-distant past, David Cameron’s ‘high street tsar’ Mary Portas warned the retail sector was heading for tough times.
She highlighted the fact out-of-town shopping centres had taken customers away from our town and city centres.
And the continuing rise in popularity of online shopping was only going to pile extra pressure on the high street.
The time has come for the Government to start taking seriously the plight of Britain’s retail sector.
If the current state of affairs continues, it won’t be long before the face of the high street changes beyond recognition.
While town planners will tell us the shops will be replaced with bars, cinemas and homes, the reality is there will be an awful lot of empty buildings around. The Government should be supporting retailers in Britain every way possible.
It is hard for Theresa May to plead poverty when this country sends more than £13.5 billion abroad each year in foreign aid. Charity must begin at home.
The vast majority of British people do not want to see critical issues on home soil ignored while a fortune is lavished on potentially dubious foreign causes.
This issue perfectly illustrates the disconnect between those who reside in the Westminster bubble, and those of us out here in the real world.
Swift action is required to save the high street.
If the Government does not dig deep now, the consequences will be felt by generations to come.