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To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will discuss guidance and assistance to support high street retailers competing with large out of town developments with the devolved legislations.
The Government is committed to supporting diverse high streets with a broad range of retail and service businesses, and has taken a number of important steps to make it easier for people to start and expand a business.
We announced that the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief would be made permanent at Budget 2016. The thresholds will also be increased. Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £12,000 and below will receive 100 per cent relief. From April, 600,000 small businesses, occupiers of a third of all properties, will pay no business rates at all. The threshold for the standard business rates multiplier will increase to £51,000, taking 250,000 smaller properties out of the higher rate. This is a business rates cut of approximately 2.5 per cent.
In England, we have implemented sensible planning reforms that are benefiting businesses on the high street, including allowing retail and business start-ups to open without planning permission and lifting planning restrictions to increase flexibility of use on high streets. This also supports pop ups or meanwhile use that can give starts ups the chance to test out an idea, raise the profile of a product or market test an item.
The Government is also championing, through the annual Great British High Street Awards, the hard work of local businesses and communities around the country who are turning their high streets around. Winners get the chance to share a £100,000 prize pot which includes training from Google and Twitter. Examples of these high streets can be found on the Great British High Street portal at: www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk. This site also contains lots of information and sources of help to help high streets revitalise.
In addition, we are currently developing a package of measures to ensure parking provision supports high streets.