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Local Economies: Covid-19

Volume 677: debated on Monday 15 June 2020

What steps he is taking to support the renewal of local economies as covid-19 restrictions are eased. (903175)

Obviously I very much welcome the fact that today is a big moment for all our local economies as shops reopen, which is really positive news. We have given councils, businesses and communities over £27 billion thus far to support them as we move to recovery from this pandemic. That includes almost £13 billion in business grants, which has so far supported 832,000 businesses, and the £50 million reopening high streets safely fund, which the Secretary of State referred to. Today we are also publishing the guidance on the £3.6 billion towns fund, which will enable 100 places across England to make further progress with their town deals.

I refer Members to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I have welcomed the super announcements to help business improvement districts with various funds, to support local economies through the uncertainty of the covid-19 pandemic. This has been a vital lifeline for Love Loughborough, the BID in my constituency. Given the need to ensure that our town centres have the resources they need to get back on their feet, what further steps are being taken to support BIDs as the lockdown restrictions are eased?

BIDs have a significant part to play in our high street regeneration programme, and they will be even more important given the setback we have all experienced during the first half of this year. That is why we have legislated to allow BIDs that were due to re-ballot this year to continue until March 2021 and have announced £6.1 million in emergency support funding for BIDs. I am pleased that the Love Loughborough BID—not one to be said unless you have a taste for tongue-twisters—will receive £12,747 from this additional fund.