MP John Glen said the unprecedented health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the rise of online shopping, had hit retailers hard.

But he insisted action had been taken by government to help.

He said: "The unprecedented public health emergency we have faced this year has posed a serious challenge to our economy. The retail sector, already buffeted by strong headwinds due to the rise of online competitors, has been particularly hard hit. But the government has not been asleep at the wheel.

"Working alongside the Chancellor in the Treasury, over the past seven months we have delivered a whole range of radical and ambitious measures to help High Street businesses and their employees through the crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loans, Eat Out to Help Out and the recently announced Job Support Scheme have all played a part in helping the city centre through these turbulent waters.

"Off the back of the 2018 nerve agent incident, I lobbied successfully for Salisbury to be shortlisted for the Future High Streets Fund which aims to reinvigorate town and city centres. Since then, Wiltshire Council has been working hard developing the proposal which focusses heavily on boosting the Fisherton Gateway, better linking the station with the heart of the city. I look forward to learning the final outcome of this work stream later this year."

Landlords have been encouraged to play their part to help Salisbury High Street by lowering their rent while residents are being asked to support businesses through the winter by shopping local.