Project revival: London’s West End to get £190m for post-pandemic recovery
London’s West End is to get a major financial boost. The capital’s key retail and entertainment hub is to receive £190 million in funding from Westminster City Council to revitalise the area during its post-pandemic recovery.
The regeneration support fund will include £150 million investment in re-designing Oxford Street while The Strand/Aldwych is to made more pedestrian friendly.
Part of the funding will be used for a series of free public art installations and performances to drive tourists to the area. A deep-cleaning programme to revamp its streets will also be introduced.
The latest support follows a number of funding initiatives unveiled last spring by the government and business groups to help push retail back into a healthier position. The New West End Company (NWEC) said that West End businesses will invest £40 million into services to enhance and progress the district as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the latest support package comes alongside a fresh call by the council for the UK government to reintroduce VAT-free shopping for tourists — which was a big driver of international shoppers to the area previously. The New West End Company has also called on the government to take action to also include tax-free shopping for European tourists post-Brexit.
The council also supports the introduction a sales tax on online traders ‘to level the playing field with bricks and mortar retailers”.
London’s West End was hit particularly hard during the pandemic as sit was starved of both international tourists and workers who were forced to stay at home.
While offices in the capital are beginning to be repopulated, the tourist situation will take some time to repair as long a travel restrictions remain in place.
Leader of Westminster Council Rachael Robathan said: “At the heart of the capital, Westminster has a special role in the nation’s economy – we generate more than £60 billion a year and support one in eight jobs in the capital.”
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