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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Highland MP Calls for VAT Free Streets to Save Struggling Town and City Centres

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Local MP, Drew Hendry has put forward a bold initiative to the Chancellor, urging the creation of “VAT Free Streets” across the UK to revitalise struggling town and city centres.

The SNP Economy Spokesperson highlighted the critical situation facing high streets and local businesses, proposing a targeted reduction in VAT to create enterprise zones within town centres.

These reductions could even be used to establish VAT -free zones in the areas of most need and in identified sectors within them, encouraging investment and consumer spending.

The initiative calls for a collaborative approach involving discussions with devolved governments and local authorities to tailor the support to each area’s specific needs. 

Hendry emphasises that this support should be contingent on businesses committing to pay the real living wage, ensuring that the revitalisation of town and city centres also promotes fair employment practices.

Ahead of the Budget, Hendry said:

“The UK Government has offered substantial tax reliefs to big businesses including freeports, but our town and city centres— the heart of our local communities— are left to face decline.

“Applying the same principle of tax incentives to our high streets can create vibrant, thriving centres for people.

“Just imagine how much benefit would be felt here in the City of Inverness and if implemented this initiative would support the efforts of local business organisations working to grow town centres across the Highlands such as Fort William and Nairn.”

He further added:

“This proposal for ‘VAT Free Streets’ is not just about economic revival but also about ensuring fairness and supporting the real living wage.

“In this budget, the Chancellor has the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to retail and hospitality sectors.”

Hendry warns that failure to act could accelerate the decline of city centres, resulting in long-term economic and social repercussions.

By adopting this proposal, the Chancellor has a chance to deliver meaningful support to local economies, safeguarding the future of the UK’s town and city centres.

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