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Government sets up £20m 'high street support scheme'

Published: 11 August 2011
In the wake of the violent riots that have spread across the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron outlines measures to provide the support needed to help get shops back on their feet.
Action includes a temporary suspension of business rates for affected premises and reassurance that stores with inadequate insurance will have access to compensation under the Riot Damages Act, with the setting up of a £20m high street support scheme.

Mr Cameron said: "The Government will ensure that the police have the funds they need to meet the cost of any legitimate claims. And whereas normally claims must be received within 14 days, we will extend the period to 42 days."

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) who has met with Home Secretary Theresa May and Business Secretary Vince Cable in light of recent events, welcomed the short-term help for affected businesses and high streets but believes this needs to be followed up by a long-term plan of action "to revitalise urban shopping areas".

Director general Stephen Robertson said: ""The Prime Minister has listened to our pleas and satisfied the majority of them. The mindless damage done to shops over the past few days is in effect mindless damage to our communities. The Government has shown great willingness to work with retailers to put our streets back together.

"Our biggest fear is that otherwise successful retailers are pushed into insolvency by the events of this week. Suspending business rates on wrecked shops, flexibility on VAT collection and reassurance that shortfalls in insurance cover will be made up, will all help substantially minimise that risk."

He added: "The retail sector has been battling difficult trading conditions for much of this year and sadly, for some shops, these attacks will be the final straw... Our high streets urgently need action, which will revitalise them in the long-term. When the rubble has been cleared away and stores have reopened, there will be bigger, underlying problems still to address. We look forward to working with the Government to establish an action plan which will give our communities the vibrant, well-kept and successful high streets they deserve."

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