Government appoints Mary Portas to review the future of the High Street

The purpose of the review will be to identify what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.
It will also form part of the Government’s wider Growth Review which is examining how we can remove the barriers to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The High Street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive.
“That is why I am delighted that Mary Portas has agreed to take on this review and I am confident that her straight talking, no nonsense approach will help us to create vibrant and diverse town centres and bring back the bustle to our high streets.”
Empty boarded up shops: The view that will greet Portas in many high streets
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Empty High Streets are a blight on the local economy. Vacant shops are also a wasted opportunity with far reaching consequences. When goods and services start to disappear our sense of community can be weakened and undermined. It is vital therefore that we examine what steps can be taken to revitalise and reinvigorate high street shopping centres across the country.
“I look forward to seeing Mary Portas’ final report which will identify what government, businesses and local communities can do to develop more prosperous and diverse high streets.”
Commenting on her appointment and the review Mary Portas said: “With town centre vacancy rates doubling over the last two years the need to take action to save our high streets has never been starker.
“I am calling on businesses, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas on how we can halt this decline in its tracks and create town centres that we can all be proud of.”
As part of her review Mary Portas will advise on how Government, businesses and shoppers can:
  • Address the problem of vacant shops
  • Adopt new business models for the high street that fit the needs of the modern shopper.
  • Prevent the proliferation of ‘clone towns’
  • Increase the number of small and independent retailers doing business in local town centres.
As part of her review Mary Portas will visit a number of town centres and engagement events across England.
Mary Portas will present the review to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), by autumn 2011.