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New West End Company launches manifesto prior to general election

Katie Ross
10 June 2024

Business group New West End Company (NWEC) has launched its manifesto today, laying out policy priorities and recommendations for the next government.

New West End Company (NWEC), the business partnership of over 600 UK and international retailers, restaurants, hoteliers, galleries and property owners in London’s West End, has delivered a manifesto which aims to build on insights from its members to outline the government support businesses need to realise their growth ambitions. This comes in response to the debate around the growing UK GDP that is so synonymous with the upcoming election.

The Business Improvement District (BID), made up of NWEC’s hundreds of members, sets out a series of recommendations for politicians to drive growth and investment in the nation’s high streets.

The manifesto calls on ministers to prioritise three key areas: economic growth, public safety, and planning.

When considering economic growth, the manifesto urges the new government to urgently undertake a comprehensive review of the business rates system, reintroduce tax-free shopping for tourists, and address chronic skills shortages in key sectors such as retail and hospitality.

With regards to public safety, NWEC demands that the government tackle organised crime and anti-social behaviour, introduce more visible policing to tackle retail crime and review the funding model for devolved policing.

Finally, the planning aspect of the manifesto refers to a reform of the planning system to make it more flexible, and an improvement in accessibility for high streets.

Dee Corsi, Chief Executive of the New West End Company, said: “As the election nears, ‘growth’ has become a buzzword for both Labour and the Conservatives. But if our nation’s politicians are serious about delivering for the business sector, we need to take a long-term approach that tackles unwieldy business rates, encourages innovation by reforming the rigid planning system, and keeps streets safe by remodelling police funding.

“Our manifesto, informed by the more than 600 UK and international businesses that the New West End Company represents, offers any future government a roadmap to do just that.

“In a little under four weeks the public will have decided on who they want to lead the country. When the nation has had its say, I hope that the government will look to the recommendations of the nation's businesses so that they can deliver on the promise of growth.”

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