WEARSIDE MP Sharon Hodgson is calling on the Government to take action and stop the amount of empty shops in Sunderland growing.
Mrs Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, spoke out after retail figures showed the city ranked 18th highest in England for the number of vacant stores.
One in five shops in Sunderland is empty.
As part of its Save Our High Street campaign, Labour says it wants the Government to cut VAT back to 17.5 per cent, use empty shops for community services and promote a “fair playing field” by putting a competition test into the planning system.
Mrs Hodgson said: “The Government can’t carry on burying their head in the sand.”
She added: “The Government needs to take action now to arrest the potentially terminal decline in our local high streets.”