High streets and town centres get £6.1m funding boost

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP has confirmed that hundreds of local business partnerships across England will share £6.1m of funding to spend on projects that will help their local high streets through the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be paid to local authorities and dispersed to Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – the local business partnerships that bring developers and communities together to provide local leadership, drive regeneration and deliver projects and additional local services.

High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said: “The Government has announced a comprehensive programme of support for businesses to help them deal with the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic and today we are extending that support to Business Improvement Districts.

“These partnerships are uniquely placed and have a proven track record of success in supporting local businesses, empowering communities, championing our town centres and driving forward the renewal of our high streets.

“It’s only right that during these unprecedented times we give them all the necessary support they need to continue operating, so that they can carry on their vital work now and crucially when we move into the next phase of the current crisis.”

The funding comes on top of the Government’s comprehensive package of support for business and workers during the economic emergency including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month, backdated to March 1 and available for at least 3 months.
  • £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses including a new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000 available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • A deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June 2020 – representing a £30 billion injection into the economy.
  • A £12.3 billion package for local authorities to deliver grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • New temporary measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

British BIDs Chief Executive Chris Turner commented: “Government has listened to the requests that we have made on behalf of the BID industry.

“I am exceptionally grateful to the numerous BIDs that have actively supported and engaged with this process, particularly those who joined in our initial Q&A sessions and completed the online survey which, together, provided us with the evidence that we needed.

“My thanks also must go to those levy paying businesses that have backed their BIDs in the request for assistance and to the ATCM and the BID Foundation who have worked in partnership with us on this.

“I am pleased that the outcome is this announcement of much needed support for the industry.”

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