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Publication - Report

Town Centre Action Plan - the Scottish Government response

Published: 7 Nov 2013
Part of:
Building, planning and design
ISBN:
9781782569497

Our response to the National Review of Town Centres.

11 page PDF

767.7kB

11 page PDF

767.7kB

Contents
Town Centre Action Plan - the Scottish Government response
Vibrant Local Economies

11 page PDF

767.7kB

Vibrant Local Economies

The Scottish Government agree it is crucial that town centres, and by association their businesses and entrepreneurs, are supported to adapt, prove resilient to further challenge and are equipped to identify and increase investment opportunities. Through our Government Economic Strategy we are committed to supporting sustainable economic growth and promoting job creation across Scotland, including in our town centres. We work closely with our enterprise agencies, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to deliver that growth. Across Scotland, the enterprise agencies offer support to businesses in town centres. They do so directly through their account management support and supporting the leadership development of town centre businesses as well as through their investment in key enabling projects, by providing information on town centre premises and advantages of that location and by their membership of community planning partnerships.

Town centre businesses already benefit from the UK's most generous business rates relief package worth £570m in the current financial year. Key elements include the Small Business Bonus Scheme and Fresh Start Relief. The Scottish Government recognise the impact that these initiatives have for many town centre businesses and through this action plan we will undertake the following:

Actions

Timescale-
Short/Medium/Long

  • We will support the collection and collation of town centre data at a local level, which will aid understanding of their health and performance.

Short

  • We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of BRIS (Business Rates Incentivisation Scheme).

Medium

  • We will create powers for local authorities to establish a Town Centre Investment Zone, using discretionary rates relief to encourage local business. We will consider a pilot scheme for this initiative.

Medium

  • We will maintain Small Business Bonus Scheme for the life of the current Parliament, removing or substantially reducing the rates burden for many thousands of town centre properties.

Short

  • We will take appropriate measures to create incentives to bring long term vacant premises back into use, including the expansion of Fresh Start rates relief to apply to pubs, hotels and restaurants from 1 April 2014.

Short

  • We will complete the actions identified as part of our review of the entire rating system to ensure the system better supports Scottish businesses, including town centre businesses.

Short

  • We will test thinking with a range of stakeholders to identify support priorities for Business Improvement District ( BID) projects and opportunities to expand what BIDS can deliver in alignment with the wider community focus recommended in the review report.

Short/Medium

  • We will encourage entrepreneurship in our town centres through our forthcoming Entrepreneurship and Innovation Framework and through our funding available to third sector organisations.

Short/Medium

  • We will work with COSLA and our enterprise agencies to ensure that town centre businesses understand the business support available from Business Gateway, local government and through the enterprise agencies.

Short/Medium


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