Sheffield MP calls for more support for “dying” high street

Labour MP for Sheffield South-East Clive Betts has called for increased support for independent businesses in Sheffield amid the current surge in online shopping.

Mr Betts wrote a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak addressing the “inequality between physical and online trade”. He said that this was a “huge driving factor in high streets dying out”.

He singled out global e-commerce company Amazon because they had paid 0.7% of their turnover in business rates whilst many small businesses pay up to 6%.

He added: “The Government can and should do more.”

The National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses Mike Cherry said: “”Our small businesses on the high street are the beating heart of our communities and will also be crucial to the whole nation’s recovery, but slapping regressive business rates bills on them will only undo any hard work they’ve done to keep running.”

The shift to online shopping at places such as Amazon is causing concern for independent business owners.

Made In the Cellar is an independent Sheffield-based furniture store. Kirsty Nogowczyk, who works at the store, said: “It is having a massive impact, a lot of retailers are having to shut.”

She added: “More businesses are moving to online retail.”

The consequences of the pandemic will also have an impact with some independent businesses having been closed for almost a year.

Written by Dylan Oakley

I am a trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield originally from Derby.

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