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Restaurants will be among the last parts of the retail and leisure industry to reopen

High Streets fund part of ‘levelling up’ regions, says minister

Additional signage, street markings and temporary barriers needed for reopening will be funded partly by a £6.5m pot announced by High Streets minister Simon Clarke.

Boris Johnson has declared that most shops will reopen from 15 June. This includes clothing, furniture and electrical stores.

The Reopening High Streets Safely Fundwill help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kickstart local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

Clarke said: “Levelling up the regions and supporting our high streets has always been central to the mission of this Government. Many businesses have already introduced creative ways of trading such as contactless collection or taking orders by instant messaging and this shows that they are ready for the challenges ahead.”

The levelling up agenda, which supports investing outside London to rebalance the national economy, appeared to go quiet during lockdown but has made a reappearance in the past fortnight suggesting support could still be available for Northern Powerhouse-type projects. At the weekend, transport secretary Grant Shapps also referred to levelling up in his funding announcement for light rail as well as cycling and walking infrastructure.

The High Streets money will also be available to use for local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their shops and other commercial areas are safe.

This new fund builds on longer-term monies already in place to support their revival and boost their economic fortunes including the Future High Streets and Towns Funds.

The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund. There is £50m available in England. Money will be allocated to councils on a per capita basis and will be ready to spend from 1 June.

Your Comments

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If it’s “levelling up” will the north get a bigger share per capita than the south?

By Gene Walker

An absolutely pathetic sum. Honestly why do we even need central government? They have all the power an funding but do nothing for regions apart from flick us a few quid every now and then under a different brand. This will do absolutely nothing to “level up” anywhere.

By Westminster watch

Levelling up?
Preston gets £125K. Richmond Upon Thames gets £175K.
Yeah great ‘levelling up’.

By Peter Moss

They could start by levelling up between North and South GM. Can anyone believe Harpurhey and Didsbury Village are on the same planet, let alone the same city.

By Elephant

Peter moss comments@ Preston gets £125,000 because about 140,000 citizens live there. In Richmond upon Thames it gets £175,000 because about 200,000 citizens live there. Okay amigo.

By Darren born and bred in Salford

@Darren Maybe they got the name of the programme wrong then? Instead of being called ‘levelling up’ it should instead be called the ‘exacerbating existing regional inequalities programme’?

By The Levellers