Former Wickes boss Bill Grimsey is set to embark on a national tour as part of the Labour Government's high street and business rates support campaign.
Mr Grimsey will meet local retailers and be part of the group advising on Labour's business rates cut plans
and the future of the high street, including pop-up shops and start-up spaces building on the success of Small Business Saturday at the beginning of December.
Mr Grimsey will be part of a new Advisory Group which will advise the Labour Shadow Business and Communities & Local Government teams on how best to support high streets. He joins other experts in retail, high streets, and local business organisations such as BIDs (Business Improvement Districts).
Members of the Advisory Group will be looking at successful examples of high street rejuvenation and entrepreneurial activity across the country and advising on new ideas like pop-up shops, start-up spaces and local entrepreneurial networks and on the challenges and opportunities facing high streets through the increasing impact of online retail and digital technologies. They will also be giving advice to Labour Shadow Ministers on how the number of BIDs can be increased and developed further.
With 45 years of experience in retailing, Mr Grimsey
recently published the review 'An Alternative Future for the High Street', spelling out a plan for boosting the high street
and highlighting the challenges retailers face
"Small businesses are being heavily squeezed by big rises in business rates and this is pushing many over the edge," said Mr Grimsey. "In producing my report I saw just how big an impact business rates have on high street shops. Businesses have been crying out for help for years and Labour's announcement is a big step in the right direction.
"I'm pleased to be able to go around the country looking at how we can not only cut business rates but put in place the types of measures I've laid out to give small businesses the chance to grow, and also encourage entrepreneurs to set up high street ventures."