Government pledges £56m ‘Welcome Back Fund’ to boost High Streets

The communities secretary has announced a £56 million fund to help prepare High Streets and seaside resorts for summer.

The funding aims to support councils in preparation for the “safe return of shoppers and tourists.”

The government said that the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ could be used by councils to “boost the look and feel” of High Streets, by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces, and seating areas to attract shoppers.

It suggested that part of the money could be used to run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses, as well as to install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety.

The total regional allocations for the Welcome Back Fund are:

East Midlands £4.9 million
East of England £6.1 million
London £8.2 million
North East £2.5 million
North West £7.7 million
South East £9.6 million
South West £5.5 million
West Midlands £6.2 million
Yorkshire and The Humber £5.4 million

“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,” said Robert Jenrick MP, communities secretary.“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.

He added: “As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”

The government is also investing £350 million from the Future High Streets Fund to be invested in 72 areas across England.

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