MPs have highlighted the importance of the city’s vibrant retail scene.

Politicians are now calling for more financial support from the government to help businesses in the city survive.

Brighton Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle warned that “the worst of the economic crisis is yet to come and it is going to have a huge effect on our high streets”.

He urged the government to give councils the power and funding to support stores and “incentivise businesses to remain on the high street”.

Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas highlighted the importance of shops in Brighton.

She said: “It is devastating to see our high streets being hollowed out by the impact of Covid and the move to more online shopping.

“Shops are important not only because of the jobs involved, but because they bring people together and create a sense of community in our towns and cities.

“Brighton needs them, whether they are the amazing small independent shops in places like North Laine or the larger anchor stores which are all part of a retail eco-system.

“This is such an important time of year for them, and they need a lot of love and support right now.”

She said an “incredibly difficult year” for retail had been made worse by poor government messaging on Covid restrictions, and a lack of support for small business owners.

She called for this to change.

Ms Lucas said: “The government should start by extending the business rate relief, where appropriate, beyond the end of March, extending the cut in VAT on tourism, and finding ways for a moratorium on commercial rents to continue while offering landlords more support where necessary. This would also help level the playing field with online retailers.”

She also urged the government to provide Brighton and Hove City Council with the money necessary to invest in the city centre.

Ms Lucas said: “Local authorities like Brighton and Hove City Council want to invest in high streets and city centres, but they cannot do that when their funding is stripped to the bone by central government.

“They need proper funding and it needs to be long-term so they can help ensure that our city centres survive and thrive.”