London

London has 7,000 vacant shops, London Councils report says

Vacant shop
Image caption The report claims the empty shops cost London £350m each year

London has 7,000 vacant shops, costing the city's economy vast sums in lost trade and earnings, a study claims.

The report, by London Councils, estimates the empty shops cost London £350m each year in lost business.

It cites data warning the proportion of money spent on London's 200 high streets will have fallen by 9% from 2000 to 2014.

The study also calls for more powers for local authorities to curb betting shops and payday lenders.

The £350m estimation took into account loss of business rates, loss of wages and average payment in benefits.

The study's authors wrote: "Empty shops are not only a symptom of a struggling high street, they are also a cause.

"Empty shops can cause a 'negative feedback loop' which means they discourage investment, decrease the offer on the high streets, keep consumers from visiting and contribute to a general sense of decline and neglect.

"High streets are social places that give a sense of belonging; their loss could lead to social problems."

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