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Government snub to Kingston’s retail sector


Kingston’s Executive Member for Economic Development has written to the Communities Secretary querying the methodology of the recent staunch of ‘Real Help Now’ funding to selected local authorities and has accused the Government of “snub[bing] the businesses and workers” of the borough’s retail sector.

Commenting on the letter, Liberal Democrat Cllr Simon James said: “Despite the strong actions of the Council to support local businesses on our high streets and town centre, the Labour Government has persistently failed to show similar assistance to Kingston’s local economy which is heavily reliant on the retail sector.”


Kingston’s Executive Member for Economic Development has written to the Communities Secretary querying the methodology of the recent staunch of ‘Real Help Now’ funding to selected local authorities and has accused the Government of “snub[bing] the businesses and workers” of the borough’s retail sector.

Commenting on the letter, Liberal Democrat Cllr Simon James said: “Despite the strong actions of the Council to support local businesses on our high streets and town centre, the Labour Government has persistently failed to show similar assistance to Kingston’s local economy which is heavily reliant on the retail sector.”






The full text of Cllr James’ letter

Rt Hon John Denham MP
Secretary of State
Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London
SW1E 5DU

Tuesday 5th January 2010

Dear Mr. Denham,

As the Executive Member for Economic Development for the Royal Borough of Kingston, I am writing to you regarding the £2.6million of ‘Real Help Now’ government funding you approved for selected local authorities last month.

Whilst I strongly welcome the financial support you have given to high streets in distress, particularly in urban areas with high levels of deprivation, I would like to query the methodology you have used to target this funding.

Retail is one of the most important sectors for employment and income generation in Kingston upon Thames. However, as you have acknowledged, this sector is at particular risk in the country’s continued recession. Consumer confidence will also likely struggle next year, even as our economy recovers.

I therefore see the unqualified exclusion of Kingston upon Thames from your consideration of ‘Real Help Now’ as a snub to the businesses and workers of this borough.

The administration of Kingston Council campaigns against such symptoms of the ‘leafy Kingston syndrome’, whereby the economic pressures on our local authority and the real financial difficulties faced by residents and local businesses are ignored, especially by Government.

I ask that future support is arranged on the basis of experience of ‘change’ or ‘shock’ to the annual turnover of a retail business, to help strong businesses models survive during this exceptionally difficult economic climate.

Please write to me, on behalf of businesses of Kingston, to explain what action the Government is taking within its economic recovery agenda to help our local retail sector.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Simon James
Executive Member for Economic Development, Kingston Council


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