Readers' letters - June 9

Losing BHS is a big blow

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 5:05 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 1:08 pm
The Government should do more to support retail chains says a reader. See letter
The Government should do more to support retail chains says a reader. See letter

For any town or city to lose another big retail store such as BHS is a big blow.

Generations of people have fond memories of shopping at BHS.

Online shopping and retail parks have played a big part in the decline of town centres.

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Soaring rents and unrealistic business rates liabilities have also added to the increasing number of failed businesses and vacant retail units found in a lot of town centres throughout Britain.

Town centres set the first impressions of an area.

Vacant department stores, temporary ‘pop-up’ shops or increased numbers of charity shops have a negative impact on positive regeneration.

A lot of people are quick to wrongly assume it’s their local council who set the business rate valuations.

The rateable valuations are in fact set by the V.O.A (Valuation Office Agency).

Local councils are duty bound to simply collect the rates on behalf of central Government.

Business rates are simply too high and unrealistic in today’s high street trading conditions.

A lot has changed in the High Street since the start of the economic downturn of 2007 when Northern Rock hit the buffers and crashed.

Surely it’s a better solution for the Government to support retail chains, small and medium-sized businesses, with a further reduction in business rates liabilities.

Keeping the wheels of local economies turning makes good sense.

Keeping the big chains profitable will also no doubt help to reduce the state welfare bill.

Local authorities should be granted greater power or discretion to adjust the business rates in their areas to encourage private and corporate investment.

I support several Labour MPs in their attack on Sir Philip Green over the collapse of BHS, which has resulted in the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension blackhole of £571m.

Did he and his boardroom show any respect or personal regard to the thousands loyal employees who were about to lose their jobs and long-term pensions when he sold BHS for £1 last year?

Phillip Green thought nothing of jumping ship and ordering himself a brand new ostentatious £100m yacht.

Putting it bluntly, this kind of capitalism is, in my view, wholly immoral.

Stephen Pierre

via email

Cyclists should put safety first

Whilst I have nothing against cycling or cyclists in general, I sometimes witness acts of complete stupidity from cyclists, especially as the weather gets warmer.

Just today, I saw a cyclist dangerously overtake a bus, followed about 20 minutes later by a cyclist running a red light and almost colliding with me as I crossed.

I don’t know what goes through their minds when they ride as dangerously as this, but for their sake and for the sake of other road users, they really should calm down and put safety first before being able to shave a few seconds off of their journey.

A. McCormack via email

Moved by their musical legacy

At the weekend, I scanned the TV looking for something that stood out from the dross! Channel 5 did not disappoint with a documentary about The Carpenters. Karen had anorexia nervosa which led to her untimely death at the age of 32. A sad programme but my mood was lifted by the one that followed. An hour devoted to the wonderful music The Carpenters left for us to enjoy!

I am aware I’m becoming more nostalgic, but there is not much modern music that leaves me moved.

Jack Banner, address supplied