When does a problem for business become a problem for governments? If the business in question is a bank, pretty quickly. But not everyone gets the same treatment as banks.
Individual retailers’ problems are their own, but when everyone is struggling it’s time for the politicians to help.
The problem with a recession is that it doesn’t take any prisoners. Up and down the high street, businesses are having a tough time of it — from the multiple retailer to the estate agent to the smallest sandwich shop. The whole point of government – local or national – is to take into account the greater good, and for business this means taking a more active role in supporting the high street.
There’s not much a local council can do to halt the ravages of a global recession. But there is still plenty they could and should be doing to help business, and as always, property is a good place to start.
There’s no point, for example, in having retailers or any other business on a high street if shoppers can’t get access. So why do many councils still refuse to reverse parking restrictions like double-yellow lines? Doing so couldn’t be simpler but in many cases the effect could be dramatic.
And why should tenants and landlords still find themselves banging their heads against a wall trying to get through to town planners? There are still retailers and plenty of other businesses looking to make their property work harder for them and thousands of planning applications that have been filed to that effect.
Yet many people still feel that the system is staying just as rigid as ever. A little bit of imaginative thinking by local authorities - and central government - would go along way.
Businesses pay a lot of money to their local authorities. It’s time they started seeing some real action in return.