High Peak MP calls for a national effort to support Britain's high streets

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The journey out of lockdown continues as we see more shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants open up around the High Peak.

Our struggle with the virus, however, is not over and I am doing everything I can to help.

Seeing people out and about again, responsibly enjoying the summer weather and visiting the local high streets has been really encouraging.

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But I know that, even before the outbreak began, high streets across the country have been struggling.

Robert Largan, MP for High PeakRobert Largan, MP for High Peak
Robert Largan, MP for High Peak

We need to be making it easier and more enjoyable for people to come to our town centres.

One of the main obstacles is the lack of public toilets and and regular readers of this paper will recall my efforts to get the toilet at Waitrose in Buxton reopened.

One of the biggest barriers to getting more public toilet facilities is how expensive they are to clean and maintain.

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This is made even more difficult by the absurd current situation where public toilet facilities are required to pay business rates.

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I have been lobbying the Government to correct this ridiculous position and I am very pleased that last week, the House of Commons passed legislation to give 100 per cent business rates relief for public toilets.

Backing our local high streets should not stop there as they have so much potential.

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This means talking about how to improve access to parking spaces and sustainable methods of transport like buses and cycling.

Business rates are also long overdue a complete overhaul.

Buxton has just made its bid for a Future High Street Fund grant, and I am eagerly awaiting the opening of the Buxton Crescent.

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To support these initiatives, I have launched my High Peak Shop Local campaign, encouraging people to make the most of what our local high streets have to offer.

Politics is about more than just grand gestures and the major policy announcements.

It is about making the small and practical changes that improve people’s lives.

Robert Largan is MP for High Peak.