High streets and town centres to receive £6.1m funding boost

Business Improvement Districts to receive funding in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 05.05.2020 | Retail

High streets and town centres to receive £6.1m funding boost thumbnail

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 economies through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

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

Many BIDs are now playing a crucial role during these challenging economic times, offering hands-on support to those businesses affected, including advice services, increased security to protect businesses that have closed, and providing key intelligence to local and central government on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their local economies. 

Bill Addy, chair of The BID Foundation, said: “BIDs have already stepped up to support those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. 

“This includes working with local councils, emergency services and businesses to ensure help and information gets to those who need it; supporting shuttered shops to adapt and deliver their services online; and helping to coordinate safe and secure spaces that meet health advice. 

Speaking of the newly announced funding, High Streets Minister Simon Clarke MP said: “BIDs 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 recovery phase from the current crisis.” 

Simon Quin, executive director of the High Streets Task Force, said: “BIDs have established networks and capacity in their local areas which provide vital coordination and help, both for businesses getting back on their feet and for communities that will need guidance and reassurance to return to the high street, when it is safe to do so. 

“By accessing this support, BIDs can ensure they continue to make a real difference to the recovery of our town and city centres. 

“BIDs are proven an effective vehicle of leveraging private investment and have a significant role to play in high street regeneration: in 2019, BIDs across England raised over £106.7m through levy payments to invest back into their respective towns and cities. Their role will be even more important in the recovery phase from the current crisis.” 

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