Posted: Wed 20th Apr 2022
The UK government is to unveil plans to give new powers to local authorities to force landlords to rent out high street properties that have been vacant for six months.
According to the Daily Mail, the measure will be included in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which will be announced in the Queen's Speech to mark the state opening of Parliament on 10 May.
Figures from the British Retail Consortium show one in seven shops in the UK are empty and the newspaper said the government hopes the change will boost high street footfall and provide new opportunities to small businesses and community groups.
Under the new plan, as part of the government's 'levelling up' strategy, councils will be able to force landlords to rent out commercial property through a compulsory rental auction.
'Breathe new life into high streets'
A government source told the Mail: "The government's mission to level up will breathe new life into these great towns and end the scourge of boarded-up shops sucking the soul out of once-bustling high streets."
Last week, the government confirmed the regional levels of funding for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which replaces funding from the European Union. Supporting local businesses is one of the key focuses of the fund.