Questions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Great British Entrepreneur Awards founder Francessca James met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak to ask him questions about entrepreneurship, from entrepreneurs in our own community.
Gareth Jones, founder of Townsquare Space’s, recently ran a campaign called “Boot the Commute”, he asked, “How can we incentivise businesses to base their workers within communities, to ensure that the towns and high streets up and down the country are able to grow their local economies?”
In response, the Chancellor said, “Well, that’s a great question because we all care about the places we call home, our town centres are our high streets. The government is committed to trying to help with that as well. We want people to feel enormous pride in the place that they call home. That’s part of what levelling up is all about, I think.
“There’s a couple of different things we’re doing. One is something called the levelling up fund, and we used to have something before called the High Streets Town Fund, and they’re all broadly similar in the sense that those are to fund projects that are smaller in scale, to help improve town centres and that could be different in different parts of the country. That fund has got billions of pounds and every few months we open it for a new round of applications - and I’m really excited to see the progress that that’s making. I was just down in Suffolk this week and Ipswich is a place that received 25 million pounds from that fund and it’s helping to reinvigorate the town.
“The other thing is business rate reductions, which will help high street businesses - but also planning reform. I think all of us realise that our high streets are adapting and evolving to changing patterns of shopping and working. So we need to make sure that our planning system keeps up with that and allows high streets to quickly adapt to changes. And we’ve made some reforms to planning to allow that to happen as well. So those are all the ingredients of what goes into, you, a vibrant high street or town centre.”
You can watch the full interview with the Chancellor here.