Tackling crime and better broadband - levelling up for local retailers
The Association of the Convenience Stores (ACS) has highlighted positive points for retailers in the government’s levelling up white paper, including commitments to tackle crime in communities and boost internet connectivity in rural areas.
The white paper, which will become law through the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, focuses on improving standards of living and working in disadvantaged areas across the UK, through the delivery of 12 ‘missions’ by 2030.
According to the ACS, there will also be a significant shift toward devolution, with more mayors instated in areas such as York and North Yorkshire and a commitment for any area that wants to have a ‘London style’ devolution deal to be granted one by 2030.
The 12 missions, announced last week, include a rise in pay, employment and productivity by 2030, as well as nationwide gigabit-capable broadband and 4G coverage, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population by the same year. Elsewhere the government set out plans to reduce homicide, serious violence, and neighbourhood crime by 2030.
“It’s encouraging that the white paper recognises the importance of tackling crime, which is central to how people feel about their local area,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “This rhetoric needs to be backed with resources and powers for police and crime commissioners and neighbourhood policing teams to improve their response to crime in shops and elsewhere in communities. People across the country want to live, work and shop in safe places, and without that 'levelling up' can’t happen.”
Lowman also said the ACS has long been calling for faster broadband to be available in more parts of the UK, “as connectivity is now an essential part of running a business effectively and legally”.
“Rural shops in particular are being held back by poor connectivity, and these retailers will be holding the government to account on their pledge,” he added.