// The 14 high streets to receive up to £25m worth of training, face-to-face support & access to research have been revealed
// The funding will be piloted first in 20 town centres
// The government has also pledged to cut small retailers’ business rates bills by 50% from April
Ministers have revealed the first 14 high streets to receive £1 billion government funding to help improve the UK’s retail sector.
The High Streets Task Force is to give 14 town centres up to £25 million worth of training, face-to-face support and access to research to give small business owners an edge.
The scheme was announced by the government in response to recommendations of an expert panel on the high street chaired by Sir John Timpson.
The funding will be piloted first in 20 town centres before being rolled out in 101 areas across the country.
The first 14 towns to take part in the pilot schemes and receive funding from the government will be:
Swinton Town centre – Salford
Thornton Heath – Croydon
Cheadle – Staffordshire Moorlands
Aldershot Town Centre – Rushmoor
Stirchley – Birmingham
Accrington Town Centre – Hyndburn
Kendal – South Lakeland
Friargate – Preston
Coventry City Centre – Coventry
Hartlepool Town Centre – Hartlepool
Ellesmere Port Town Centre – Cheshire West and Chester
West Bromwich Town Centre – Sandwell
Huyton Town Centre – Knowsley
Withington District Centre – Manchester
“The Task Force will provide the tools they need to get the best advice possible and a dashboard of key local data,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said.
Labour MP 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.”
She added: “It’s up to our high street heroes to shop locally and save our town centres.”
Ministers will also launch a consultation on whether to build an online register of commercial properties, which could make it easier to bring empty shops back into use.
The government has also pledged to cut small retailers’ business rates bills by 50 per cent from April.