SCORN: Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman.
SCORN: Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman.
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NEWSNIGHT anchorman Jeremy Paxman sneered our town this week telling a nation who may bemoan the state of its high streets: “Don’t despair – you could be living in Dewsbury....”

The BBC report, shown on Tuesday, revealed Dewsbury was one of the worst places in the country for having empty shops.

According to Local Data Company (LDC) figures announced yesterday, 27.6 per cent of the town’s shops are unoccupied. It ranks Dewsbury top of the league for the most empty shops for Yorkshire and Humber and the fourth worst in the country for a town of its size.

But the same company’s figures were disputed by Kirklees Council last year, and those defending the town say there is more to a place than the number of shops.

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell (Con) said: “Of course if you go round with a clipboard there are empty shops, but lots of other places have empty shops and they don’t have the market, the buildings and the bigger stores we’ve got.

The empty shops are a problem and we’ve got to work to get them full but it’s not what defines Dewsbury.”

He said it was disappointing when people made flippant comments about the town and he would be inviting Jeremy Paxman to see Dewsbury for himself.

Chamber of Trade president Trish Makepeace said: “I don’t particularly like Jeremy singling out Dewsbury. Anything bad that can be said about Dewsbury, they pick on it. There are people in Dewsbury trying really See this week’s paper for more.