Unfair Tax Competition Hits Our Historic Town Centres
Byline: ALUN PUGH
HIGH Streets all over North Wales are under pressure. The dire state of the economy and the recent VAT hike don't help but the decline of the High Street across our region didn't start with David Cameron entering Downing Street.
Towns such as Bangor, Rhyl and Colwyn Bay are visibly feeling the strain.
The march of the supermarkets is threatening to do to the butcher and baker what electricity did to the candle stick maker.
Another lethal competitor is making its presence increasingly felt: electronic commerce.
Internet shopping has become a mainstream activity as we get used to typing our details into websites. There is much to be said for e-commerce.
Not many of the 670,000 residents of North Wales have ever had easy access to, for example, a really good bookshop with a huge variety of stock.
Amazon has built its business by delivering quickly to our doors an enormous range of titles at attractive prices. Over a hundred thousand consumers in North Wales now visit online suppliers to buy.
This region still has significant problems of access to fast broadband and 3G mobile technology, but there is enough infrastructure here to sustain a thriving e-commerce culture.
Internet shopping is certainly not going to go away. If our High Streets are going to survive, they must meet that challenge. Mary "Queen of Shops" Portas retail courses have recently been on offer to local retailers looking to raise their game. …