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The 2017 Budget – A Final Blow to the High Street as we Know it?

The government’s annual budget has been announced, but what sort of future does it spell out for the people of Britain? For some High Street retailers the prognosis could be terminal.

Chancellor Philip Hammond today (Wednesday) confirmed a recalculation of business rates to reflect increased property prices in areas across the UK, with some retailers facing hikes of more than 400%.

Many retailers have already voiced criticism of the rates recalculation, with calls to overhaul the entire charges system.

ParcelHero’s head of Consumer Research David Jinks said: “The planned changes to business rates threaten many high street retailers with significant rate rises just as they are battling to take on online retailers.

“Some city centres are saying their Business Rates are rising by around 50% while e-tailers such as Amazon may even see their rates fall on out-of-town distribution centres.

“More needs to be done to save the High Street and look at the disparity of taxes and rates between online and brick and mortar retailers.”

ParcelHero’s latest industry report 2030: Death of the High Street warns that many high streets could become ghost towns by as soon as 2030, with only nail bars and charity shops left in physical spaces.

Elsewhere in the budget, the chancellor announced a £270m investment into developing robotics and driverless vehicles, which could further accelerate the already rapidly-changing face of delivery.

Mr Jinks said: “Britain is at the forefront of technology when it comes to logistics and courier services.

“Parcels are being delivered by drone in Cambridgshire, droids are delivering packages in London streets and driverless vans are being trialled in Greenwich.

“Britain and the US are streets ahead of the rest of the Western world when it comes to e-commerce and delivery innovation; and this money will help ensure we stay ahead of the curve.”

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