Stuart Anderson MP has welcomed a raft of new measures to help local businesses safely and successfully welcome back shoppers, diners, and tourists in the months ahead. It follows the publication of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, under which non-essential retail, personal care businesses, and public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen as part of Step Two.
To help prepare our high streets for reopening, councils across the West Midlands have received £6.2 million from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund - with the City of Wolverhampton being allocated £234,488. The funding can be used to invest in safer options to reunite with friends and relatives this summer.
Wolverhampton is also one of seventy councils across England that will benefit from additional hands-on support through the new High Streets Taskforce. It is a group of highly skilled experts that will spend time in the area and consult with the council, businesses, and the community on how Wolverhampton can adapt to changing consumer demands and thrive in the years ahead. The Taskforce is providing free access to online training, webinars, data, and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, and reconfiguring public space. Longer opening hours will help people return to high streets safely when non-essential shops re-open.
This targeted support for Wolverhampton builds on top of £15.76 million from the Future High Streets Fund, and £234,488 from a similar fund in 2020, as well as the City’s successful bid for £25 million from the Towns Fund. Stuart is now campaigning to ensure that Wolverhampton can get its fair share of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which was recently announced by the Chancellor and will further invest in the infrastructure that improves everyday life.
In the meantime, Stuart is working hard to ensure that businesses are aware of the support that already exists, which includes business rates relief and business grants. The new £5 billion Restart Grant Fund will become available in April and ensure that the hardest-hit businesses have the support that they need through the next stage of recovery.
Stuart Anderson MP said: “After a challenging year, plans are now well underway to ensure that Wolverhampton can enjoy a great summer. Local businesses will be able to apply for restart grants, get advice from the High Street Taskforce, and be supported by £234,488 from the new Welcome Back Fund, which is designed to help our high streets safely and successfully reopen as restrictions lift.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.”
Support from the Government’s High Streets Taskforce can be found at www.highstreetstaskforce.org.uk/how-we-help-high-streets/