CAMPAIGNERS are calling for residents to celebrate York’s “rich and vibrant high street” by choosing to shop locally and sign a petition for business rate reform.

The Love Yor-K High Street campaign aims to support businesses in the city centre and has launched a petition asking the Government for “urgent review and reform of the business rates system to create a fair and level playing field”.

Liberal Democrat councillors have thrown their support behind the campaign, as they call for taxes to be cut by five per cent for York businesses.

Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “It is so important that we continue to maintain York’s rich and vibrant high street, particularly at a time where high streets nationally are facing challenges. The Love Yor-k High Street campaign does exactly this and I would like to thank the organisers.

“I would also encourage everyone to add their name to the Love Yor-k High Street petition and join the calls for business rate reform. Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy.”

The petition, addressed to the House of Commons and the Chancellor of Exchequer, will be delivered by York Central MP Rachael Maskell.

The campaign is also calling on residents to “shop with their feet” - visiting local stores instead of buying items online.

A spokesman for the group said residents can support the city’s businesses to “ensure our fabulous city remains a healthy and thriving place to shop, work, eat and live.”

The chairman of York Civic Trust Andrew Scott has called for “visionary thinking” to tackle the growing problem of empty shops in the city centre. He said his own recent survey revealed 12 empty units on Coney Street alone. But he added that the clock could not be turned back to the days when people visited the high street for all their shopping needs.

To view the petition visit A roadshow will be held in King’s Square on September 22 from 11am hosted by Minster FM with live music and giveaways.