Asked this week what good news was on the horizon for retailers, new BRC director general Helen Dickinson was pretty blunt - none.

She was also refreshingly honest in her assessment of the government’s attempts so far to help rescue the ailing high street, as it buckles under the weight of soaring operational costs and ever-increasing regulation.

“What retailers really need in 2013 is concrete help from the government”

Ian Quinn, chief reporter

Dickinson credits self-styled Queen of Shops Mary Portas for helping raise the profile of the crisis but is damning of the lack of progress of the celebrity-driven process, whose only real concrete achievement threatens to be a Channel 4 reality show.

For many this will come across as appallingly bad taste. What retailers really need in 2013 is not a contrived reality. It’s concrete government help on areas such as rates, red tape, parking, crime, planning and even taxation.

Solutions to these real issues won’t be found in the lifetime of a TV series. And will involve not just strong personalities, but government and business enterprise and vision, combined with local empowerment.