Has online retail destroyed your High Street? Are there boarded up premises that used to house your local shops? And when was the last time you carried a big purchase home rather than having it sent direct to your door?

These are the sorts of questions that the government is seeking answers to, and it has brought in shopping expert Mary Portas to find out.

Portas, in her new guise as the leader of an independent review into the future of the High Street, will be charged in finding out what businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.

“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," said Portas.

“I am calling on businesses, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas on how we can halt this decline in its tracks and create town centres that we can all be proud of.”

PM David Cameron said: "The High Street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive.

"That is why I am delighted that Mary Portas has agreed to take on this review and 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."

Nick Clegg also said something, but nobody really took any notice.

The results are due in by Autumn 2011. We can save the government and the tax payer a lot money by having a guess at what the main culprit behind the decline of the High Street is. We'll not name names but lets just say it begins with an A.