Daily Archives: September 2, 2013

Jim Pickard

Ten out of the 12 towns picked for a “Portas Pilot” high street makeover have seen a fall in occupied retail units in the last year in a stark sign of the worsening state of Britain’s town centres.

Mary Portas, the retail “guru” who carried out a review of high streets for the coalition, admitted the statistics as she was quizzed by MPs on Monday.

“That is happening across the country, that is the tsunami we saw coming,” she told the communities select committee. “The big chains are not going to be on the high street in the way they were before.”

Major retailers would still want to have outlets in major shopping centres and prime high streets: but they had deserted “secondary” and “tertiary” high streets and were never coming back, she said.

The first wave of 12 Portas Pilot towns were awarded government support and a share of a £1.2m fund called the High Street Innovation Fund. They included Bedford, Croydon, Read more >>

Kiran Stacey

Ed MilibandWhen Ed Miliband was deliberating last week on the approach to take for Thursday’s vote on military strikes against Syria, he kept his team very tight. Miliband, Stewart Wood, Douglas Alexander, Tim Livesey (his chief of staff) and Hilary Benn (the former development secretary) were the inner circle. Others were not necessarily deliberately excluded, but simply not present when the key decisions were being made.

Over the weekend, many of those others – especially the Blairites – began to express disquiet at the result. Ben Bradshaw, the former minister, said the result was “not what any of the main parties or their leaders wanted”. Jim Murphy, Labour’s shadow defence secretary, said: “There is some unease about the outcome off the vote and I share it. It’s not what I wanted.” Read more >>