High street Croydon

The government is to launch a nationwide hub to help high streets make better use of digital technology, but businesses will have to wait almost a year for it to be rolled out.

The digital high street programme is being led by John Walden, CEO of Home Retail Group, owner of Argos, with support from companies including IBM, Google and Facebook.

Following initial trials in Cheltenham and Gloucester, The Great British Digital High Street Hub will launch nationally in spring 2017. It comes after a report by Innovate UK in conjunction with Town Centre Managers highlighted the urgent need for active intervention in providing the right tools and training to get the UK’s towns and businesses online to bridge the digital divide between them and their local community, visitors and tourists.

“Due to the spread of online commerce and services, modern consumers are often more digitally capable than the places they visit,” said Walden, chairman of the Digital High Street board.