By Prof Cathy Parker
Whilst the current political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit is generating division and negativity at a national level, there have been a lot of new policy announcements recently that are, paradoxically, good news for local town centres and high streets.
The Budget of October 2018 promised to cut the business rate bills of small retailers by one-third; a package that is worth nearly £1bn. At the same time, the £675m Future High Streets Fund was launched to support the transformation of England’s high streets, from mono-functional retail centres to multifunctional community hubs. The October 2018 Budget also announced the creation of a High Streets Task Force, to provide much-needed expertise, training, data and insight to the place leaders and partnerships that are reinventing their local areas, with a budget of just over £8.6m for 5 years. The Institute of Place Management is leading a consortium of partners to run the High Street Task Force, which will be fully operational by July 2020.Continue reading “Funding towns: Good policy or electioneering?”