The pandemic has been tough on our high streets and village centres.
But as we continue to make progress in controlling the virus – and our vaccine rollout reaches more people every day – we can look forward to more of our shops and local businesses being able to reopen.
I’m pleased that extra support is being provided to help local councils welcome people back to our high streets.
A new £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces, and provide more outdoor seating areas for friends and family to meet up safely.
I’m pleased that our local councils are getting their share of this new funding. Maidstone Borough Council has been allocated £153,551, while Swale Borough Council will be getting £199,058.
Swale has also been confirmed as one of 70 local authorities to benefit from the Government’s High Streets Task Force, which provides specialist advice and funding to high streets in need of support.
In addition to extra finding, planning rules are being changed to allow businesses such as pubs and restaurants to serve more customers outside with temporary marquees and extra outdoor seating.
This new support will help our high streets get back on their feet, secure people’s jobs, and breath life back into communities.