Newspapers have been told by the government that next month’s Queen's Speech will include dramatic measures to bring empty retail units back into use.
This applies to shops that have been empty for six months or longer.
Councils will have the powers to force landlords to let shops through a compulsory rental auction.
Landlords will be given a short period to find a commercial occupier before local authorities invite bids from interested parties which could include community organisations and charities.
A government source told the Daily Mail over the weekend: “The government’s mission to level up will breathe new life into these great towns and end the scourge of boarded up shops sucking the soul out of once bustling high streets.”
It is reported that currently a record 16 per cent of shops across the country stand empty.
A spokeswoman for industry body UK Hospitality tells The Times this could be a way to bring more people into town centres.
“We welcome these new proposals to rejuvenate empty properties, which can blight an area, stimulate innovation and accelerate economic growth and recovery” she says.
The Queen’s Speech is on May 10.
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