There are plenty of bakers in my home town of Bridport in Dorset, all well-established and apparently holding their own, although their turnover has been affected for the worse by the edge-of-town supermarket.Yet anecdotal evidence suggests the situation is less buoyant for bakers elsewhere in the UK. As a trade association representing the interests of small independent retailers, we are constantly drawing ministers’ attention to the continuing demise of the high street, des-pite their protestations that their planning priority is the regeneration of town centres.Of those canvassed in our recent survey, Health of the High Street, 70% said that the high street played a vital part in the socio-economic make up of their neighbourhood. Yet why is it that, every year, more people are voting with their feet and taking their custom to the edge-of-town and out-of-town shopping centres? There is no single reason, but let’s look at the problem from the perspective of both the consumer and the retailer.Consumers want a holistic experience when they shop on the high street. It starts by being able to gain easy access, finding a place to park relatively easily and at a reasonable cost. They want to shop in an environment that is safe, relatively pollution- and graffiti-free, with good facilities such as lavatories, benches and so on and one that offers a wide range of shops, food and beverage outlets and entertainment. People want to shop locally and support their local economy because they know that, by doing so, their money is circulating locally.So what is the problem? Simply put, small retailers are not getting the support they deserve from national or local government.Planning at a national level has no consistency and is influenced by the developers and large retailer agenda. Just look at the preliminary announcement of the Competition Commission’s report into the ’big four’ grocers – it actually recommends greater competition among them, by building more supermarkets rather than fewer! There is no joined-up government thinking when it comes to retail development and no long-term strategy that cascades down to local government.Meawhile, the costs retailers have to bear are rising exponentially. Turnover is under threat and margins are reducing, so bakers, like everyone else, are having ’to run to stand still’. The national minimum wage (NMW) has outstripped the rise in average earnings considerably and property rentals have risen way above the rate of inflation. Bakers have to be on the high street to attract footfall, but high-street rents are very high, due to demand. This is not helped by charity shops, which are prepared to pay a higher rental as they receive an 80% waiver in their Business Rate. This rental then becomes the benchmark for the high street and, with business rates pegged to rental value, the poor retailer gets a double whammy!The BSSA’s ’Agenda for Change’ has three key objectives, which are achievable and would make a real difference to retail bakers:l we need more transparency in the setting of the NMW – the index needs to be a measure that is timely, intuitive and relevant;l Small Business Rate Relief needs to be doubled from a threshold of £10,000 to £20,000;l a simple lease agreement template in plain English needs to be produced, which lessees can understand and comply with, in the confidence that they have a reasonable deal.We must put up a robust fight now if we are to save the high street, a vitally important part of our heritage.
Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: ” I was excited to hear he has been given an entry in the Grade One three-mile novice chase at Leopardstown and there is also a Grade Two at Limerick on Boxing Day – a race Willie (Mullins) has won with Sir Des Champs and The Paparrazi Kid in recent years. “He is really a spring horse and we already have one eye on the big Festivals next year.” Another Supreme runner being primed for a return is talented mare Uranna, who is set to embark on a career over fences. The seven-year-old won a Listed hurdle race at Sandown back in February and was last seen being touched off by stable companion Whiteout at the Punchestown Festival. “She is in very good order and is a real natural over fences,” said Massey. “She opened her account over hurdles at Limerick last Christmas and the plan is to head back there for a mares’ beginners chase on December 29. “I’m really excited about seeing her tackle the larger obstacles.” Punchestown Festival winner Avant Tout is in line to make his return to action at either Leopardstown or Limerick over the Christmas period. The five-year-old was a surprise winner for Willie Mullins in County Kildare in April, but showed off his talent once more with an emphatic success on his chasing bow at Tramore a month later. Given a break since, Avant Tout is set for a step up in class this winter, with the newly-named Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown on December 29 among his options. Press Association
BRIGHTON welcome Tottenham to the Amex Stadium as they search for their first home win this season.But Spurs come into this match off the back of a harrowing 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on their own turf, while they haven’t won away in the Premier League since January.And the clash on the south coast started off in horrible circumstances for the North Londoners, as they conceded in the opening minutes after Hugo Lloris could only palm a cross onto Neal Maupay, who headed into an empty net from a yard out.But Tottenham’s bad luck continued, as the Frenchman was unable to carry on after falling awkwardly on his elbow and could be set for a lengthy spell out.Tottenham winless away from home in nine league matchesBrighton with just one victory in 16 Premier League gamesWatch on BT Sport 1 from middayLive stream via app for BT Sport customersEE phone subscribers can sign up for three-month FREE trial to use BT Sport appBrighton XI: Ryan, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Montoya, Stephens, Mooy, Alzate, Gross, Maupay, ConnollySubs: Button, Bong, Balogun, Bissouma, Jahanbakhsh, Murray, MarchTottenham XI: Lloris, Sissoko, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Ndombele, Eriksen, Lamela, Son, KaneSubs: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Sanchez, Skipp, Winks, Alli, Moura