Around £500,000 of the government’s £10m High Street Innovation Fund has been spent, according to the latest reports.
As part of a Freedom of Information request made by independent retailer Paul Turner-Mitchell, and reported by the BBC, it was revealed that a small proportion of the multi-million pound pot has been used by the 100 English councils which received the money last March.
The government told the BBC that it wanted to spend the money "strategically and wisely", as it was discovered that 47 out of 72 councils that responded to the information request said they had yet to spend the money. This equates to a total of £519,363.22 which has been currently spent out of a possible £7.2m.
The Independent recently reported that some of the money spent during the 12-month period included £1,500 on a Santa Claus, £1,000 for a reindeer, more than £5,000 on a portable stage and PA system and another £37,000 spent on a salary for a business manager.
British Baker is helping bakers play their part in reviving the UK’s high streets as part of its Use Your Loaf awareness campaign, by providing information and advice to retailers to overcome problems such as how to open a pop-up shop and eliminating town centre car parking charges.
Martyn Leek, editor of British Baker, said: "In such cash-strapped times when retailers of all sizes are having to overcome a number of financial hurdles, we wanted to provide our readers and online users the opportunity to make a difference without the hefty price tag."
The Use Your Loaf campaign has already drummed up support from national pretzel retailer Auntie Anne’s, as well as helping a number of craft bakery businesses with suitable business advice.
This includes J Hall and Son Bakers in Stroud, who received tailored business advice on setting up a pop-up outlet from Emma Jones, director of campaign group StartUp Britain, which runs the PopUp Britain initiative, and Dan Thompson, founder of the Empty Shops Network and author of Pop Up Business for Dummies.
To find out more about the campaign:
• Visit our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/useyourloafcampaign
• Follow us on Twitter - @UseYourLoaf_BB
• Contact BB multimedia reporter Samantha Edwards on email@example.com or 01293 846594 with any questions.