The Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Phil Prentice, has welcomed Derek Mackay’s new £50m Town Centre Fund, announced in the Scottish Budget, as a timely boost for communities ahead of the festive period.
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work made the announcement in the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget 2019-20. A new ring-fenced £50 million Town Centre Fund for 2019-20 has been allocated within the local authority capital settlement to drive local economic activity and to stimulate and support place based and future looking economic improvements to town centres.
The Budget notes that the fund will complement a wider package of business support to ensure that Scotland’s town centres are diverse, thriving and sustainable places for everyone.
STP is the national body for Scotland’s towns and all those who work to support the country’s towns and city neighbourhoods; a hub to help people learn, connect, find practical support and advice, and share good practice and knowledge. It is a repository for a wealth of intelligence around the Town Centre Action Plan and other policy conversations, and helps to support open-access resources such as the Understanding Scottish Places town data tool.
The organisation’s deep-rooted knowledge of the towns landscape and extensive range of services supports the Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to secure a positive future for Scotland's towns.
Speaking after the Budget, Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership said:
“It’s clear that Santa has had a word with the Finance Secretary ahead of the Budget this year, as the announcement of a new £50m Town Centre fund is a really welcome confidence boost ahead of the festive period”.
“It’s no secret that Scotland’s town centres have faced many challenges, from the aftermath of the last recession to the growth of online retail. However, we are beginning to see our town centres emerge as a new force for social good - a crucial community asset that local people want to see thrive. People now see town centres as community hubs with a real social offering and a movement towards lifestyle services, food and drink, digital, and tourism”.
STP is also responsible for Scotland’s Improvement Districts, the national support hub for the country’s Business Improvement Districts, which likewise form a key part of the forward-looking vision for towns and city districts across Scotland.