For the third year running, the competition celebrates the great work that is being done to revive, adapt and diversify the nation’s high streets and is an opportunity for councils, businesses, community groups and volunteers to learn from the very best.
With new categories, new prizes, including the chance to win up to £ 10,000 each, the minister said he expected to see even more competition entries, this year.
The government is helping local business communities adapt to the changing face of high streets, with a £6.7 billion package of business rates support, to cut the rates for 900,000 businesses – with 600,000 now paying none at all.
Investment in the high street is up by 30 percent, the national vacancy rate has fallen to its lowest level since January 2009 and retail sales have increased year-on-year for the longest period on record.
Speaking on a launch visit to Camden High Street, Marcus Jones said: “With a record number of entries and 200,000 public votes cast, last year’s competition was a massive success.
“This year’s Great British High Street competition is going to be even bigger and better, with new categories and a simplified entry form.
“I’d urge everyone to get involved to showcase the hard work of your community, in keeping high streets the life and soul of our towns, villages and cities.
“As well as the cash prize, winners will also receive dedicated support and mentoring from industry experts which could range from one to one coaching to advice on digital marketing.”
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association and chairman of the High Streets Partnership Working Group said: “This is a hugely exciting time for our high streets. We have seen some really excellent examples where great leadership, collaboration and partnership have led to regeneration, more footfall and as a result, more sustainable high streets.
“The 2016 Great British High Street competition is supported by great brands and companies who between them represent over 22,000 outlets. Just look at what has already been achieved, and encourage your local high street to enter this year.”
Details of how to enter the competition can be found at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk
The deadline for entries is Friday, September 9 2016.