Government experts are to be drafted into Birmingham to help businesses breathe new life into their local town centres.

Liveability Minister Baroness Andrews announced yesterday that entrepreneurs aiming to set up Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) will receive support from hired professionals.

Support will include free management, technical, and communications advice which will help establish sustainable partnerships between businesses, the public sector and the local community.

There is currently only one BID system up and running in Birmingham, in the city's Broad Street entertainment district.

However, businesses in Kings Heath are considering plans to set up a scheme on their high street that would see rates being increased to pay for environmental improvements and measures that will help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

Birmingham is one of 20 towns and cities around the country to get the help of experts as part of the two-year project.

Baroness Andrews said: "We have already made real progress in making our town and city centres cleaner, safer, and greener with BIDs making a real difference in engaging businesses.

"We now need to build on the urban renaissance taking shape. That's why I am delighted to announce the 20 areas involved in this scheme.

"By enabling business people to work together in effective partnership with the local community, respect and ownership will grow and thrive."

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Nathanial Litchfield and Partners (NLP) have been appointed to work on the initiative.