As many will know, I am a proponent of our town centres. I often reference the survival, evolution, strengthen and growth of some more than others but in those cases they require a strong, mixed-use community that allows easy access around our transport networks (bus, train, walk, cycle or even the good old car!) so they can come together to eat, educate, experience and of course live and work....work being the key in my mind!
But I can't see a tweak to taxes putting things on a "level playing field"? Nor can I see the use of £675m of Future High Streets Funds being that transformational or that the drive to put flats above a service yard as a way to save your place?
The question I have is, how do we bring all these concepts, many with significant national and local government input, together? Be it tax, education, transportation, health and wellbeing, job retention and creation, affordable / quality homes into nice environments?
I think the town centre of the future needs to think of all these things (and even shops where you can look at goods and return the ones you don't want!) but I’m not sure that tax alone will create any playing field, let alone an even one. We need much more national and local leadership, clear plans and the delivery - in many different phases and different ways.
With regards to being "revenue neutral" that is where we need to be looking at a holistic model for public sector intervention and how does a strong town centre community increase educational attainment, improve mental health and wellbeing and create high quality jobs, close to where we live?
“The introduction of an online sales levy would create a level playing field, incentivise investment and do so in a way which is revenue neutral for the government.”