Potential jobs boost as red tape is cut for business improvement districts

The Government has cut red tape in a bid to encourage the development of "business improvement districts", to potentially provide a retail jobs boost in communities across the country.

Until now, when a business improvement district was proposed in an area that covered more than one local authority, separate ballots were needed in each authority region.

The new rules, which come into force on October 7, mean only a single ballot for the entire area will now be needed.

Business improvement districts were identified by Mary Portas in her review of high streets as an effective way to support the growth of town centres.

The Government says they are proven to be an effective method, as seen in towns and cities around the world, for funding improvements in local trading areas.

It has given its backing to the model as a catalyst for the regeneration of high streets and it has pledged to outline how new business improvement district areas can get help with their start-up costs, through a 500,000 loan fund scheme, later this year.

There are already more than 150 business improvement districts operating across the UK, focusing on issues such as town centre safety, the improvement of public realms, support for local traders and parking initiatives.

Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said: "This Government is setting business free from red tape to the tune of over 212 million a year, so local traders can generate the kind of enterprise that is vital to our economic growth."

The Government has cut red tape in the planning rules and it has also "tackled unpopular parking practices that reduced parking spaces and increased parking charges that hold back the high street", he continued.

Mr Prisk also said the tax burden faced by small shops has been eased with a tripling to 900 million in the total amount of business rate relief that is given out.

He added: "Local communities and local businesses know what works best in their area.

"We know business improvement districts enable local businesses to realise their potential by successfully raising money to re-energise their high street and cutting unnecessary burdens on them will help more communities get started."

Copyright Press Association 2013