The Government minister charged with overseeing a turnaround of the UK’s ailing high streets has welcomed aspects of the Portas Review, but warned that more is needed to tackle the decline.
Housing minister Grant Shapps, who was allocated a town centre remit in December with responsibility for implementing Mary Portas’ recommendations, made the remarks in a debate held in Parliament this week on the future of town centres and high streets, organised by the Backbench Business Committee.
Other MPs including Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk attended to discuss the review.
Shapps cited changes to business rates, the creation of town centre teams and a “town centre first” planning policy as areas of the Portas Review that could help Britain’s stricken high streets.
The Government’s response to the Portas Review, which was released on December 13, is expected in the spring.
“We intend to provide a very energetic response to the Portas review,” said Shapps, who cautioned that retailers should “not expect a universal recovery in the high street simply as a result” of actioning the Portas Review.
He said that retail was complex and that it was vital to find out why it has suffered so badly.