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Bristol MP Darren Jones urges government to do more to protect high street jobs

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 06 July 2018 15:00

Bristol MP Darren Jones urges government to do more to protect high street jobs

Darren Jones, Bristol North West MP, is urging the government to do more to protect high street jobs and the lifeblood of local communities.

A report released by the British Retail Consortium has warned that 100,000 UK shops could close within the next 10 years - and cities, including Bristol, could become 'ghost towns' if nothing is done.

Almost 70,000 retail jobs, including shop-floor roles, are set to be axed this year in Britain - and Mr Jones says he is "seeing the impact" of vacant stores in Bristol.

He said: ”We know our high streets and shopping parades are struggling – shops are closing across the country and I see the impact of vacant stores here in Bristol North West.

The report released by retail magnate Bill Grimsey suggests high streets are facing “their greatest challenge in history”.

Read more: Deal or no deal? How Bristol businesses should be preparing for Brexit

Following a Westbury-on-Trym resident sharing concerns about vacant premises becoming targets for petty vandalism, Mr Jones says he will be meeting with a representative from Westbury Business Association to discuss what he can do to help champion the city's high streets.

He added: The government must urgently re-assess the support they are giving to small, family-run shops, as well as the medium and larger chains which are not immune to these pressures, and the rates they charge them – high streets are the lifeblood of our communities.

"I’m also working hard to bring infrastructure investment to Bristol North West – we know congestion, irregular and unreliable bus and rail networks and a lack of cycle routes can put people off visiting a high street and only encourages them to visit out-of-town retailers and shop online.

"Our transport network must support local high streets and encourage use of public transport - that’s why I’m continuing to call for at least £50million investment into a North Bristol Transport Fund.

"I am also urging residents to do their bit – shop locally, support locally-run businesses and nominate their high street for the Visa Great British High Street competition."

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