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Cities Policy

Towns and Urban Centres

Busy centre in Bath

Our Towns and Urban Centres priorities

  • Replacing the current piecemeal competitive arrangements with fewer and longer-term funding mechanisms for regenerating neighbourhoods and urban centres, taking account of disparities and linked to agreed housing targets.
  • Facilitate local authorities’ ability to borrow against assets to invest in regeneration and growth, with match funding for areas with high deprivation or poor viability
  • Introducing fiscal incentives to support the high street, including VAT incentives for stores with meaningful high street presence, and reform of business rates.
  • Putting community wealth building principles at the heart of our local economic recovery plans.

Towns and Urban Centres will be at the heart of our recovery as the country transitions from the shadows of the pandemic over the coming years.

If we want cities and towns across the country to drive an inclusive recovery and growth, then we must listen directly to those who run and represent those places, are close to the lived experience of their residents and acutely aware of the obstacles, as well as the opportunities, for progress.

Our report on The Future of Urban Centres Post Covid, commissioned jointly with Core Cities, brought forward several detailed recommendations based on evidence from economic and stakeholder analysis.

Among which was the urgent need for our towns and urban centres to create new partnership-based governance with citizens, businesses, anchor institutions and investors, supported by a new inclusive renewal deal aimed at driving investment in innovation, housing retrofit, green industry and jobs and social infrastructure.

Our most recent report The Healthy City, also sets out a new vision for cities in 2050 based on a ‘health first principle’, – making the case for cities and Government to increase support and promotion of mental, physical and social health at both the local and national level.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that going back to the way things were is not an option. Only new, locally led solutions will work in a world changed forever by the pandemic.

Portfolio Lead

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