- Brentwood Borough Council will receive £67,383 to help local high streets reopen and attract shoppers and tourists along with £116,694 for Epping Forest District Council.
- Conservative Government investing a total of £56 million through the Welcome Back Fund to help councils prepare for the end of lockdown when it is safe to do so.
- This is part of a wider package of measures to revitalise high streets and level up communities – including steps to make it easier for eateries to serve customers outdoors and set up market stalls this Summer.
Improvements can be made to local high streets across Brentwood and Ongar to help them safely and successfully open after lockdown thanks to Government funding.
A total of £56 million will be invested through the new Welcome Back Fund to help councils across England boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more, safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this Summer.
Councils can use the funding to hold street markets and festivals, boost the look and feel of their high streets, with more seating areas and street planting or less graffiti, and install new signage to help keep people safe as restrictions are lifted.
The Conservative Government has provided billions of investment through the £3.6 billion Towns Fund and £1 billion Future High Streets Fund to regenerate town centres and spruce up high streets, and recently announced a new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will give every council in the UK access to up to £20 million to make their area a more attractive place to visit.
It has also supported high street businesses throughout the pandemic with targeted tax cuts, business rates relief and grants as part of an economic package worth £407 billion this year and next; enabled eateries and pubs to keep serving customers as takeaways during lockdown, and is making it easier for disused buildings in town centres to be repurposed to end the scourge of ugly buildings that drive away footfall.
Commenting, Alex Burghart MP said:
It has been difficult for businesses on our high streets over the last year, and I am determined to help them to recover.
That is why I am delighted that Brentwood and Epping Councils will respectively receive £67,383 and £116,694 as part of the Conservative Government’s new Welcome Back Fund, which will help our high streets to reopen safely and successfully as restrictions ease.
This will ensure that our high streets have the support they need as we move into recovery, and build back better from the pandemic.”
Commenting, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.
I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.”
Notes to Editors
We are investing in high streets and town centres by:
- Delivering a comprehensive package of support that will allow high streets safely and successfully to reopen in the months ahead, helping local economies thrive. We have announced a suite of measures that will allow high streets to prepare for the safe return of customers, including our £56 million Welcome Back Fund to help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stalls, with part of the funding going to all coastal resorts across England. Businesses including pubs and restaurants will also have greater flexibility to set up marquees and extra outdoor seating allowing them serve more customers and we are introducing fairer parking measures that will encourage people to return to high streets and town centres (MHCLG, Press Release, 20 March 2021, link).
- Helping local leaders revitalise their high streets and town centres through our High Streets Task Force, which will support them in adapting to changing consumer demands. The Task Force, comprised of experts, will provide advice to local areas on how they can breathe new life into their high streets and town centres and adapt in the face of changing consumer habits, and we have now announced the first 70 councils set to benefit from this targeted, hands-on support (MHCLG, Press Release, 2 July 2019, link; MHCLG, Press Release, 12 June 2020, link; MCHLG, Press Release, 20 March 2021, link).
- Providing councils with £50 million to prepare for the safe reopening of high streets, helping businesses to welcome customers back safely once restrictions are lifted. Our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund has paid for safety measures on high streets such as new signs, street markings and barriers, that will ensure hospitality customers can return safely as we cautiously progress through our roadmap to recovery (MHCLG, Press Release, 24 May 2020, link).
- Introducing our new £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which will deliver investment in long-term infrastructure projects that will level up communities across the UK. This fund will allow us to invest in local infrastructure and support our economic recovery, helping regenerate our town centres and high streets, improve local transport links and investing in cultural and heritage assets (HMT, Levelling Up Fund: Prospectus, 3 March 2021, link).
- Launching a £3.6 billion Towns Fund to ensure prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone, not just those in London or our biggest cities. This funding will support an initial 100 towns by improving both transport and digital infrastructure, driving local growth and raising living standards (Prime Minister’s Office, Speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum, 27 July 2019, link).
- Backing community leaders with £1 billion of funding to help modernise their high streets and town centres. The Prime Minister has expanded the Future High Streets Fund, confirming that another 50 towns in England will be given a share of £1 billion to redevelop their high streets, improve transport and access into town centres and convert empty retail units into new homes and places of work, taking the total receiving support to 100 places (MHCLG, Press Release, 26 August 2019, link).
We are giving the small businesses at the heart of our high streets the backing they need
- Delivering one of the most comprehensive economic responses in the world to support jobs, businesses and livelihoods on the high street during the pandemic. Over 2020-21 and 2021-22, we are providing £407 billion of support for families, jobs and businesses, more than almost any other country in the world. This includes protecting 14 million jobs through the furlough and self-employed schemes, and over £100 billion in business support – from around 2 million Bounce Back Loans to grants, rates relief and VAT deferrals (HMT, News Story, 5 November 2020, link; HMRC, Coronavirus statistics, 28 January 2021, link).
- Cutting taxes for high street businesses to help them through the pandemic. Our business rates holiday means that business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates for 2020-21 – a tax cut worth £10 billion and see an effective reduction of 75 per cent in 2021-22 – saving a further £6 billion. 150,000 hospitality and tourism businesses will also pay less VAT until April 2022 (HMT, Budget 2021, 3 March 2021, link).
- Providing restart grants to help high street businesses get going again. Non-essential retail businesses will open first and therefore receive grants of up to £6,000, while hospitality and leisure businesses – including personal care, hairdressers and gyms – will likely open later or with more restrictions and so receive grants of up to £18,000. These will be worth an extra £5 billion – taking our total cash grant support since the start of the pandemic to £25 billion. We are also providing local councils with £425 million discretionary funding to support other local businesses (HMT, Budget 2021, 3 March 2021, link).
- Extending the retail discount on business rates to 50 per cent, and to cinemas and music venues, benefitting up to half a million businesses and giving high streets a £280 million tax cut. During 2020-21 this will be increased to 100 per cent to support small businesses affected by COVID-19 and also be extended to the leisure and hospitality sectors, supporting town centre businesses through this difficult period. We will introduce an additional business rates relief for pubs bringing their total relief to £9,750 (HMT, Budget 2020, 11 March 2020, link; MHCLG, Press Release, 24 January 2019, link).