'Queen of shops' to run review of high street

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Mary Portas, the so-called Queen of Shops, has been hired by the Government to lead an independent review into the UK's troubled high street.

The review aims to identify what the Government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more "prosperous and diverse high streets".

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said he was "delighted" she had taken on the review.

He said: "I am confident that her straight-talking, no-nonsense approach will help us to create vibrant and diverse town centres and bring back the bustle to our high streets." But the signing of Ms Portas is likely to be controversial among some retailers who feel she has tarnished the reputation of chains and the wider industry in her reality TV series Secret Shopper.

Ms Portas said: "With town-centre vacancy rates doubling over the last two years the need to take action to save our high streets has never been starker. I am calling on businesses, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas."