Boris Johnson urges Brits to ‘breathe life into their high streets’ as he backs our Bounce Back Britain campaign

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BORIS Johnson has urged Brits to “breathe life into their high streets” as he backed our Bounce Back Britain campaign.

The PM praised The Sun’s bid to get people spending in the shops as they open for the first time since lockdown today.

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He visited a shopping centre to see the coronavirus social distancing measures being taken.

The PM is eager to reignite the economy which has taken a 20 per cent hit in the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “Shops across England have been working hard to make their stores Covid-secure and ready to reopen from Monday, when they will lift their shutters, switch on the lights and open their doors again.

“We have been taking every step possible to help them through this difficult time — from loans and cash grants to business rates holidays — so they can quickly get back on their feet.

“We can all do our bit to help breathe life back into our high streets and I applaud The Sun’s Bounce Back Britain campaign for encouraging people to do just that.”

Our campaign, launched last week, has been offering readers practical advice, detailed guides and a host of money-saving offers as life slowly returns to normal.

We’ve urged our readers to start spending money on the high street to get our economy going again.

Mr Johnson had a look around the shops at Westfield Stratford shopping centre in East London.

As non-essential stores got ready to open for the first time since March, he said: “I think people should shop and shop with confidence, but they should, of course, observe the rules on social distancing and do it as safely as possible.

“I am very optimistic about the opening up that’s going to happen.”

But he warned that the threat of the virus had not been totally eliminated so shoppers should still be careful when out and about.

He added: “I think that it’s important that we see a gradual build-up. What I want to see is safety.

“That’s our priority as the British people have spent three months really knocking this virus down, getting it right down.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also acknowledged many would be anxious at the prospect of going shopping again but stressed measures had been put in place to ensure public safety.

Federation of Small Businesses chair Mike Cherry said the reopening would support small firms which were the backbone of the economy.

Business chiefs also want short-term tax relief — including a VAT cut — to stimulate the economy.

British Retail Consortium boss Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Retailers have been under immense pressure for the past three months but the reopening of non- essential shops from today is unlikely to deliver immediate relief.”

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