The Government has invited towns including Boston and Skegness to bid for funding for town deals under its new £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund.
Local MP Matt Warman welcomed the Fund, which will boost growth and give communities across the UK a greater say in their future after Brexit, and called on the Government to assist towns in putting together bids to make the most of the funding.
The Fund will specifically target areas which have not shared in the proceeds of growth as much as other areas of the country, with a total of £1 billion being allocated using a needs-based formula. A further £600 million will be available for communities across the country to bid for.
Of the £1 billion funding, the East Midlands has been granted £110 million. The Government’s intention is that communities will be able to draw up job-boosting plans for their town, with support and advice available through their Local Enterprise Partnership. The Fund builds on the success of the Government’s City and Growth Deals initiatives.
In a statement to Parliament on the Fund on Monday 4th March, Matt told Communities Secretary James Brokenshire that “Boston and Skegness are proud and ambitious towns that, frankly, have been frustrated because we have not been spending money like this for many years on our great towns.” He added that, “It should be for towns to come up with their own ambitions and perhaps for the Department to help them in saying how best they can be put together and allocated from different pots of money.”
Agreeing with Matt, James Brokenshire responded that he wants to see the development of town deals which bring different funding streams together to support towns in fulfilling their potential. He added, “I look forward to working with my hon. Friend as we seek to establish more of those town deals.”
Commenting afterwards, Matt said,
“I am very pleased that the Government has listened to concerns that growth has not spread fairly across the country in recent years, meaning areas such as Boston and Skegness can feel left behind. This new funding will target areas such as ours, and help towards building and boosting a local economy which works for everyone. I look forward to working with local leaders and communities, as well as the Minister, to build a plan when the Fund opens for bids later this year.”
- More information about the Stronger Towns Fund can he found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/16-billion-stronger-towns-fund-launched
- Matt’s question and the Minister’s answer can be read in full here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-03-04/debates/B9137B37-AC0F-411E-A7C8-FA3C385C8739/StrongerTownsFund#contribution-AFE2B7CB-A1D2-45EA-8092-509982FD93DD