In an exclusive interview Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary, talks about his plans to help and protect independent retailers.

Labour will protect independent convenience stores from supermarket chains by giving local councils more power on planning permission laws, according to shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna.

In an exclusive interview with Retail Express, the senior Labour minister said he wants to encourage more different businesses onto the high street. He aims to add retail diversity to the existing planning permission criteria, including applications made by the major discounters and multiples – a move that could halt multiple stores moving into crowded streets.

“For example, when a store needs to put in an application for changing the hoarding at the front,” Umunna said, “it’s at that point we would empower councillors when they are making the decision not only to do so on the standards criteria, but also retail diversity on the high street.”

The plans to promote the growth of small businesses are a part of the Labour Party’s plan to give power back to the UK’s regions and to give them the opportunity to revive the high street. Umunna said: “We want to devolve power down to regions so they can be the masters of their own economic fate.”

Click next to read Labour’s plans for small businesses.