In December of last year the government announced a billion pound support package for the UK’s high streets, aimed at making shops on Britain’s high streets grow and expand.
The measures included:
- New consultation to tackle aggressive parking policies
- Review of double yellow lines, legislating to allow “grace periods” and stopping CCTV being used for enforcement
- Cap increases in parking penalty charges
- Autumn statement made following changes to business rates
- Encouraging adoption of online technology, with a million pound competition, run by the Technology Strategy Board. The Government, in partnership with business will fund £4.7m of research on e-commerce and digital high street innovations
- Changes to permitted development rights to give town centres the flexibility to adapt existing buildings
- a £1,000 discount in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016 for retail premises with a rateable value of up to £50,000 - including shops, pubs, cafes, and restaurants
- capping the Retail Price Index (RPI) increase in bills to 2% in 2014 to 2015 - businesses were expecting a 3.2 % rise
- extending the doubling of the Small Business Rates Relief to April 2015
- a reoccupation relief for 18 months with a 50% discount for new occupants of retail premises empty for a year or more
- allowing businesses to pay their bills over 12 months (rather than 10), which will help every firm with their cashflow
The Government continues to look at other areas for improvement with the Red Tape Challenge initiative, The Portas Review and the Future High Streets Forum.
Brandon Lewis, Local Government minister congratulated Deal in Kent this month on becoming the inaugural winner of the Telegraph’s High Street of the Year award. He commented
“The shortlisted places understood that success needs local ambition and initiative to be achieved and where-ever they are in the country, whatever their past difficulties and current challenges, all of them had energy, imagination and a willingness to work together”.
Sources: DCLG website and The Telegraph