I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the development of a retail strategy for the future.
It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship in this important debate, Sir David. Nearly a quarter of jobs in my constituency are in retail, so it is important to me that the retail sector is strong and vibrant. The fact that it provides 8,000 jobs, or 23% of the total—the highest in any constituency—is perhaps hardly surprising, given that Blaydon has Metrocentre, which is still the largest indoor shopping centre in the UK. However, there are also many local high streets in villages, towns and communities across my constituency, with small businesses that have to face huge challenges to survive, particularly given the closure of bank branches and the loss of footfall that that brings.