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The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been urged not to overlook independent retailers as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda.

The Fed’s political engagement team sought assurances that supporting smaller independent businesses will be at the forefront of the department’s plans in a meeting with its service directorate Charles McCall.

BEIS is responsible for business, industrial strategy, scientific research and innovation, energy and clean growth, and climate change. Its focus is to help businesses bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic, alongside tackling climate change and backing long-term growth to boost enterprise.

Mr McCall explained that the main aim of the levelling up agenda was to restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging in areas that have been left behind or overlooked.

To achieve this, local leaders will be encouraged to direct funding towards their locally identified priorities, including reviving high streets and supporting local businesses.

BEIS also plans to introduce 20,000 more police officers on streets by 2023 and provide a £70m Safer Streets fund to improve the environment and reduce offending in high crime areas.

The Safer Streets fund will incorporate more CCTV, vital for keeping independent businesses safe and helping to identify and prosecute the most prolific offenders.

Mr McCall maintained how vital the retail industry is to the levelling up agenda and said his department intends to explore further measures to make town centres and high streets the thriving hearts of communities.

BEIS has also endorsed the Green Streets initiative, a guide to helping smaller retailers and hospitality businesses work together to become more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.

The Fed’s head of political engagement Adrian Roper said: “We welcome the proposals and look forward to working closely with BEIS over the coming years to ensure the levelling up agenda strengthens the role of the retail industry within local communities.

“We are pleased that BEIS recognises the importance of community, and how independent retailers play such a pivotal role.”

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