Mel Stride

    CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride has welcomed a new £50 million fund to support local high streets in getting safely back to business. With the Government beginning to prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail, conditional on the best available scientific advice, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will provide councils in England with funding to introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops. Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe. 

    Mr Stride, who chairs the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, said:

    "High streets are the heartbeat of market towns across Central Devon and our economic recovery, both in our corner of the country and across the UK will be dependent on the success of our local traders. They must be properly supported and the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, backed with £50 million of funding, is a very positive step forward."

    The new funding will be allocated to councils on a per capita basis and will be ready to spend from 1 June 2020. It builds on the support already outlined for the retail sector which includes businesses being able to defer the next quarter of VAT payments, not having to pay business rates  for the 2020 to 2021 tax year and potentially being eligible for grants of up to £25,000. The smallest businesses can also apply for Bounce Back Loans of up to £50,000 and, like other sectors, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is covering 80% of employee  wages, helping businesses retain their workforce for when it is safe to reopen.