'Portas Pilots' high street update to be delayed

 

The Government appears to have delayed publishing a progress  report on the towns which received taxpayer money to revitalise their local high streets until later this year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government had intended to unveil “in the spring” its update of the 27 so-called Portas Pilots chosen last year, following recommendations made by the retail expert Mary Portas.

But the department has told The Independent it now does not expect to publish a full one-year-on report until “later this year”, although it unveiled a short update on the  pilots as part of its The Future of High Streets document last month.

This has further raised eyebrows about the apparent slow progress of many of the Portas Pilots, including councils only spending small chunks of the £100,000 awarded to each town or purchasing seemingly frivolous items, such as more than £1,600 on a Peppa Pig costume for a day.

The retail adviser Paul Turner-Mitchell said: "This policy has made precious little impact."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Following our update last month on the action we've taken to rejuvenate the nation's high streets, our report outlining the progress of the 27 Portas Pilots will be published later this year as planned."

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