Communities to get help to buy their pubs or football teams

Prime minister Boris Johnson has set out plans regenerate town centres and give local residents powers to buy community assets like pubs.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 5:30 pm

In a speech on so-called a speech ‘levelling up’ he said there would be a Community Ownership Fund giving communities the chance to become owners of their local pubs or football teams, and a High Streets Strategy to try to bring empty high street properties back into use as new businesses or homes.

Communities will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to buy or take over local assets and run them as community-owned businesses, including local pubs, theatres, post offices, sports grounds and corner shops, saving them from risk of closure.

Also announced was money for grass roots football pitches.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a visit to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry where he insisted his levelling up agenda is "win win" and will not be a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as tries to keep traditional Tories in the South on side. Picture date: Thursday July 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS LevelUp. Photo credit should read: David Rose/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a visit to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry where he insisted his levelling up agenda is "win win" and will not be a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as tries to keep traditional Tories in the South on side. Picture date: Thursday July 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS LevelUp. Photo credit should read: David Rose/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire

Mr Johnson said he would empower strong local leaders by taking a more flexible approach to devolution, as well as focusing on growing the private sector by creating the conditions for long-term growth and productivity, investing in infrastructure and connectivity, and ensure people have access to good public services and jobs training.

He also said he would improve communities through cutting crime and regenerating towns and high streets.

He also launched the £4.2 billion City Region Sustainable Transport Fund, announced at Budget.

Sheffield city region will receive a share of the money.

Sheffield city region mayor Mr Jarvis said: “He missed out any of the basic elements needed to finally give the agenda credibility – clearly defined goals, genuinely new and transformative funding, and a real commitment to local leadership.

“Instead of empowering local leaders, the government is channelling funding through small, unreliable, easily politicised competitive pots. Keystone investment projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 North are still hanging in the balance. If the government wants to be taken seriously, they could finally publish the Integrated Rail Plan.

“We’re glad to see the possibility of devolution deals extended to the counties, and welcome the offer of discussions on further powers for Mayors. But you can’t claim to support devolution then make powers dependent on regions toeing the government’s own vision, as the PM implied.

“A real plan, real resources, real empowerment – that is what real levelling up needs.”