The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP (No.2 to the Chancellor) came to Southwell today at my invitation to meet local retailers and hear about how we can support the high street through business rate relief, flood forum representatives benefiting from government funding and to see the beautiful Minster which has recently received funding for restoration from the Treasury scheme that he set up.
Small market towns like Southwell face particular challenges from online retailers and the loss of high street banks. We raised the recent decision by Natwest to close their branch in the town (and in Bingham). Many of us may bank online, but older people and retailers need a high street bank.
David met with County Councillor Roger Jackson, who knows the area better than almost anyone, to talk about funding for flood prevention, schools and how we can use the discretionary fund the Treasury has given to Newark & Sherwood Council to support small shops and rural enterprises through business rate reliefs – I hope the council will prioritise the high streets in Newark and Southwell when deciding how to spend this money.
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