First 14 high streets to receive £1bn Government task force funding revealed
The Government has revealed the first 14 high streets across England to benefit from a £1billion fund to improve town centres.
They will each receive up to £25million worth of “training, face-to-face support and access to research” from industry experts who will join forces with local leaders.
The programme of support is part of a pilot by the new High Streets Task Force, which will be rolled out across the country in 2020.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This government is investing £3.6billion in our great towns, including £1billion to help our high streets to adapt and evolve while remaining vibrant and safe places at the heart of our communities.
“Having announced the first 101 high streets that can benefit from £25 million each back in the summer, I am announcing support from our new High Streets Task Force for a further 20 places and naming 14 of these today.
“The Task Force will provide the tools they need to get the best advice possible and a dashboard of key local data.”
The pilot areas include Swinton Town centre in Salford, Thornton Heath in Croydon and Stirchley in Birmingham.
The Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry said: “Every place has its own unique strengths and challenges but all our town centres and high streets have one thing in common – they are the lifeblood of communities.
“The tailored support from our new High Streets Task Force and up to £25 million each from the Towns Fund for 100 places gives communities the money and support they need to unleash the potential of their towns.”
But Labour’s Lisa Nandy said: “A decade of Tory cuts has blighted our high streets with empty shops and payday lenders.
“They have no plan to give us back the well-paid jobs we need to revive our high streets.
“After ten years of failure, nobody will believe more of their empty promises.”
And Ed Davey, Lib Dem acting leader, accused the task force of being “as effective as a chocolate teapot”.
He said: "Where have the Conservatives been as High Streets across our country have been in rapid decline for several years now?
“Where is the Tory Government’s apology for their failure to act before now, despite countless warnings of the toxic impact of the rapid rise of internet shopping, huge cuts to funding for local councils and the out-of-date unfair business rates system?”
The first fourteen places that will take part in the pilot are:
- Salford - Swinton Town centre
- Croydon - Thornton Heath
- Staffordshire Moorlands - Cheadle
- Rushmoor - Aldershot Town Centre
- Birmingham - Stirchley
- Hyndburn – Accrington Town Centre
- South Lakeland - Kendal
- Preston - Friargate
- Coventry - Coventry City Centre
- Hartlepool - Hartlepool Town Centre
- Cheshire West and Chester - Ellesmere Port Town Centre
- Sandwell - West Bromwich Town Centre
- Knowsley - Huyton Town Centre
- Manchester - Withington District Centre