Urban Areas: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support small town centres in recovering from the economic effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

This Government is?fully?committed to supporting the businesses and communities that make our high streets and town centres successful as the nation responds to the?impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak.? Now more than ever, it is vital that we continue to help our local economies by supporting town centres and high streets, adapt and evolve.

This Government has provided a comprehensive package of support of well over £200 billion. Many of the measures introduced, including loan schemes, tax deferrals, Self Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, remain open and have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

On 25 May, the Government announced the £50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF) to support Local Authorities in England to safely reopen their high streets, town centres and other commercial areas through Covid-19 related advice, awareness and practical measures to support safe trading.

On 22 October, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer also announced that further grant funding will be made available to support businesses in Very High Covid-19 local alert levels that are required to close by law in order to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. Funding for business grants will also be provided via local authorities to support businesses in High Covid-19 local alert level areas that are not required to close but will have had their trade affected, particularly by restrictions on household mixing.

Our immediate response to?Covid-19?builds on an ongoing programme of interventions. This includes the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, where we brought forward over £80m funding this year to support immediate improvements in 101 towns selected for deals. The fund will support local areas in England to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability.

Government is also providing support through the High Streets Task Force, helping local leaders in their work revitalising their high streets and town centres by providing proactive support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. The High Streets Task Force is rolling out its expert, training and data offer across the country, and has launched a range of online support.

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