Friday, 22 Jan 2021

Shops get permission to stay open late in December to help save UK high street

Shops are to be granted the right to remain open later in a drive to save the UK high street following months of restrictions and lockdowns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Huge British chains including Topshop and Debenhams are said to be on the brink of collapse after months of closures forced by the Covid-19 outbreak.

While footfall has been less than normal in the months that shops have been permitted to open during 2020 as consumers remain cautious over the pandemic.

But now shops are to be granted late night shopping hours throughout December and January to help turn around profits in the run-up to Christmas.

Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has announced plans for local councils to waive rules that restrict shop opening times in the coming weeks.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said he aims to ‘sweep away’ limitations imposed by the town and country planning act which restricts stores to 9am-7pm opening hours Monday to Saturday.

While shops can generally request later opening licenses, the process is believed to take weeks – with Mr Jenrick now allow stores to sidestep the process to allow emergency late night trading to last "through January".

He said: “With these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport.

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“How long will be a matter of choice for the shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council, but I suggest we offer these hard pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.

“Therefore as Local Government Secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond if wish.”

Mr Jenrick claimed he believes stores would be able to keep shelves stocked up safely even with additional late trading hours as deliveries should be made more flexible to accommodate the proposals.

He added: “In a year when Government has necessarily interjected into our lives in ways none of us who value individual liberty would ever have imagined, these changes remind us that we can and must seek every way to reduce the burden of bureaucracy and free our small businesspeople to get on with earning a living and serving the public.”

The Centre for Retail Research has already calculated the 13,867 have closed permanently as a result of lockdown so far in the UK.

While it is believed almost 125,000 jobs in the retail section have already been lost as a result.

Source: Read Full Article

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