ATCM & The UK Parliament 2010 to 2015
ATCM is non-political, which is why we work with politicians and thinkers from all political persuasions, and now is the ideal opportunity for us to thank all the MP's, Councillors, Government and Local Government Officials, thought leaders, and key influencers, who have worked with us closely during this period.
Listed below are some of the policy contributions we have made in the past five years, and also highlighted are some of the important changes we need to affect over the duration of the next parliament. Below is a sample of the policy progress that we have played an important role in:
Business Rates Review – A Rare Opportunity to Modernise the Tax System
After years of pushing by the town centre and retail industry, we have finally been presented with an opportunity to overhaul the business rates system. On the 16th March 2015, as reported in our Pre-Election Budget Review, the UK Treasury published a structural review of business rates.
Both through the BIS Select Committee and through Marcus Jones MP (outgoing Chairman of the APPG for Town Centres and the Parliamentary Private Sectary to former Treasury Minister Sajid Javid), ATCM has asserted that aggressive tax planning with mobile capital by multi-national companies has led to significant tax burdens on fixed assets, especially non-domestic property. This had led to huge pressure on high street investment by all sectors, exacerbated by new ways of trading that do not rely on physical space. Our determination to change this outdated system that is no longer fit for purpose is outlined in our ATCM Manifesto.
We note that the publication of the business rates reform paper was followed immediately by legislation for a diverted profits tax indicating that our views have carried some weight within the Treasury. This represents significant progress for the industry. However, it cannot stop there.
This business rates review may be the last chance for ATCM to outline its vision for a modern tax regime ensuring that reform is genuine, UK-wide (and not England only) and can still be fiscally neutral through the offsetting of revenue via instruments such as the diverted profits tax. Therefore, ATCM will be conducting a UK-wide consultation on what is a unique chance to build a legacy for the revitalisation of town centres.
ATCM Successes from the Portas Review
The ATCM played a significant role in the Portas Review, resulting in at least three major outcomes which we can be proud of.
- Town Teams - Our primary recommendation was the need to extend and build the town centre management industry. Mary Portas consequently recommended the implementation of Town Teams, ’a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets’. The Government agreed, providing funding for the creation of 330 Town Teams, many doing brilliant work in their local communities and creating strong local public/private partnerships that will thrive for years to come.
- Minister for Town Centres and the Future High Streets Forum - We recommended a better place-based focus to policy-making by the Government with ministerial commitment to a working group and the UK’s first Minister for Town Centres. The Government agreed, putting in place a Minister for Town Centres and establishing the Future High Street Forum.
ATCM helped secure one of the best attended backbench debates of the parliament on the ‘Future of Town Centres’ in response to the publication of the Portas Review with contributions from around 100 MPs, including Ministers and shadow ministers. More information can be found HERE.
ATCM pushed for a BIDs evolution through the APPG for Town Centres with a number of meetings, including the Super BIDs meeting in June 2012 where we partnered with the APPG for Urban Development and hosted the then Minister for Town Centres. The minutes of this crucial meeting are HERE.
ATCM has consistently been a thought leader in the field of BIDs and very recently was a significant contributor to the new BIDs Guidance document released by DCLG.
Through the APPG for Town Centres, ATCM successfully engaged the DCLG Chief Planner to get offices added to the 'Town Centres First’ framework in England. More recently ATCM coordinated a campaign to force the Government to reconsider the permitted development right allowing offices to be converted to housing without planning permission. Bringing together councils, BIDs, Town Teams and the BBC, ATCM have prevented the extension of the policy this side of the election.
Evening and Night-Time Economy
Purple Flag has become the 'gold standard' for safety and vibrancy in the evening and night-time economy, with nearly 60 towns across the UK and Ireland now achieving accreditation. ATCM has played a key role in helping to establish Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAAs) working with the Home Office, and has made strong and successful representations to Government regarding the Late Night Levy .
The Great British High Street
ATCM project managed and developed the online hub of The Great British High Street, for The Future High Streets Forum and DLCG. We also played an important role in promoting and administrating The Great British Hgh Street of the Year Competition, which was a celebration of the amazing projects and initiatives going on around the UK.