Debenhams closure will be devastating for Sunderland city centre
By Niall Hodson
Commenting on news that Debenhams are set to close all their stores Sunderland city councillor for Millfield and the City Centre - and Liberal Democrat group leader - Niall Hodson said:
"This is devastating news for all those who work at Debenhams and will be a huge blow for our city centre.
"Debenhams is the only large department store left in Sunderland and has been a key part of our city centre shopping offer. This will leave a huge retail unit at the heart of the town standing empty.
"For too long people have complained about the state of the city centre going downhill. The Council must come up with an action plan to support shops, services, restaurants, pubs and Sunderland BID to make sure our city centre can rebuild after the coronavirus crisis and start competing again with Newcastle, the MetroCentre and Dalton Park."
Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP added:
"Our high streets now need urgent government action to safeguard their future. A first step must be for Ministers to overhaul the business rates system, otherwise we will see yet more livelihoods lost in our retail sector."