Councils have 'barely touched' High Street retail fund, claims report

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Councils have 'barely touched' High Street retail fund, claims report

Author: Ashley Curtis - 14 March 2013

Despite government handing out funds to local authorities with a view to revamping High Streets, less than a tenth of the money has actually been spent, reports

The £10 million government response to Mary Portas' review of the high street, dubbed the High Street Innovation Fund, was awarded to 100 councils with the worst affected high streets in England.

However, a Freedom of Information Request has discovered that only seven per cent of the cash has been spent.

Around 72 councils responded to the request and 47 admitted they hadn't spent a single penny of their allocation. Overall, just £519.363.22 out of £7.2 million has been spent, adds

Councils looking for high street revamp inspiration may want to consider installing steel benches, litter bins, street lamps or other accessories which could add a touch of class to their main shopping streets.

Paul Turner-Mitchell, a retailer who submitted the Freedom of Information requests, commented on the cash: "Looking at these figures you can only conclude that councils are either complacent about the problems on the High Street or they simply don't know what to do about it.

"Either way, ministers need to look at ways of getting high street funding out to the coalface much quicker," he added.

Nonetheless, the Department for Communities and Local Government is nonplussed by the figures, claiming it would rather councils spend the money strategically than rush to "waste taxpayers' money in the process".

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