Last week’s news, that a COVID 19 vaccine might finally be on the horizon, has introduced a glimmer of hope to society and to the property industry. There are signs of optimism that we may return to some semblance of normality in the not too distant future. Whilst many property owners and occupiers cannot hope to simply resume business as normal due to the significant losses suffered through the pandemic, some are taking proactive steps to secure their future and are now calling on the government to implement measures to aid in their recovery.
The Westminster Property Association have put together a ten-point plan to support the recovery of Westminster. They are urging the government to look at a number of measures including extending the business rates holiday, increasing traditional trading hours on the high street and reversing plans to end tax-free shopping for tourists. Central London has been particularly hit by the significantly reduced number of tourists visiting this year due to COVID, any measures that the government can implement to encourage tourists back to the UK (once it is safe to do so) has got to be a good thing for the UK economy and especially for our struggling retail and leisure sectors.
Many of the other proposals set out by the Westminster Property Association would be welcome on any high street across the UK, especially in the run up to the festive season. It will be interesting to see how the government responds to this proposal and if it can pave the way for recovery measures to be implemented across the UK retail sector more widely.
WPA chair Olivia Harris said: “Now is a critical moment in the economic recovery, and policymakers must act to provide urgent support to city-centre businesses. There is a need for a bold vision for the future, making active travel, activated streets and longer trading hours part of UK city life in the 2020s.”