NEW shops opening in Dewsbury town centre are to be helped with their business rates from a £20,000 fund.
The Press reported in November that Kirklees Council’s Dewsbury Area Committee was considering such a scheme.
They were to put £10,000 into the bid and seek matched funding from wider council coffers.
Both are now confirmed to make up a pot aimed at bringing new shops into the struggling town centre.
Preference will be given to locations such as Westgate, the Princess of Wales Precinct, Foundry Street and Market Place.
Businesses on Northgate are out of the picture, given the separate multi-million pound investment coming to that area.
Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) said: “I’m quite happy to accept criticism from those who say it’s not a lot money.
“I accept it isn’t, but it’s the only money we’ve got. Hopefully we can use it to support the town centre.
“If we can help two or three new shops over the next 12 months or so then I think it will be at least a step forward.”
The scheme is also aimed at creating jobs, with businesses receiving cash for each person they employ.
Major chains would be able to apply as a way to get them to take some of the larger empty units.
Coun Kane said: “We’re doing as much as we can to offer an incentive to businesses to come to Dewsbury by looking at specific problems.
“Business rates are an issue, but people have to realise these are set by the Government. All Kirklees does is collect them.
“Hopefully this scheme will bring some business rate relief to help traders open new shops and bring jobs to the town centre.”