£9.75 million to clean our high streets

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  • Brokenshire announces £9.75m for locally-led high street spring clean
  • Every local authority in England guaranteed money to spend on equipment and training
  • This comes ahead of ‘National High Street Perfect Day’ later this year, a community-led clean-up to make sure high streets look their best

Councils across England will receive an immediate cash boost from a £9.75 million fund to back their efforts in cleaning up high streets and town centres, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP confirmed today (16 March).

From Ashford to Wakefield, councils in partnership with existing community groups will be able to use this one-off funding to support volunteers. They will be able to buy tools such as litter pickers, gloves and brushes and provide training for residents on how to remove graffiti or tackle fly-tipping, as well as organise events to encourage more families to get involved.

The funding will give local authorities an opportunity to do more, encourage communities to take greater pride in their local area and support campaigns such as Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean Campaign running from 22 March to 23 April.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

High streets are at the centre of our communities, and as places that are well loved, they sometimes need a bit of a spruce up to look their very best.

That’s why we will be providing councils with £9.75 million to work with community groups who need that extra money to give their local high street a spring clean, making sure their town centres are really spick and span.

Today’s announcement supports commitments in the Government’s Litter Strategy and will also prime councils and communities ahead of the ‘National High Street Perfect Day’, a locally led and funded community clean-up planned for this summer.

The day was first suggested in Sir John Timpson’s High Street Report, compiled by retail industry experts, which called for a community-led approach towards supporting high streets, including one day in the year when every town centre looks the best it possibly can.

The first ever High Street Perfect Day will take place this May in Altrincham, Great Manchester, a winner in the 2018 Great British High Streets awards.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry said:

This funding will improve community engagement and give councils an opportunity to do more, with community-led approaches to street clean-ups.

The Great British Spring Clean and the upcoming National High Street Perfect Day are fantastic opportunities for communities to get together in partnership with local businesses and ensure our high streets are places we have even greater pride in.

This is a particularly challenging time for many retailers, confronted by rapidly changing consumer demand and the rise of online spending. Recognising this, the Government has put a plan for the high street at the centre of the Budget and is taking action to ensure local high streets are able to adapt and thrive for generations to come.

Today’s move builds on tough Government action to tackle litter, including doubling the maximum on-the-spot penalty for littering and new powers for councils to crack down on littering from vehicles. The Government has also launched an ambitious ‘Keep it, Bin it’ anti-litter campaign in partnership with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, supported by some of the biggest names in retail, travel and entertainment, to make littering culturally unacceptable within a generation.

The Government has backed the high street by:

  • Cutting small retailers’ business rates relief bills by a third, building on over £13 billion of business rates support since 2016.
  • Launching a £675 million Future High Streets Fund to improve infrastructure and access to high streets, put historic buildings back to use and make town centres fit for the future. This was announced in response to recommendations from the independent expert panel.
  • Announcing a Town Centre Task Force to give local leaders expert advice and support in implementing their plans to revitalise their local high streets
  • Opening up empty shops through the Open Doors scheme to community groups who are offering services to the most vulnerable in our communities.
  • Publishing a planning consultation to help support change on the high street. This will aim to make it easier for high streets to adapt for the future, with a wider range of retail, residential and other uses.
  • Empowering businesses to contribute to the success of their high street by providing loans to establish Business Improvement Districts across the country.
  • The Great British High Street Awards, which return this year, are a hotly contested competition to find Britain’s best high street, and the huge response to last year’s competition highlighted retailers and community groups across the country working in innovative ways keep our town centres vibrant and strong.

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