John Healey has backed five tests set out by the Labour Party which the Government’s Levelling Up plan must meet in order to deliver on the promises of the 2019 election.
New research from Labour has revealed that virtually every area of England (95%) has received less in funding on average since 2018 than they received from regional development funds, such as the Towns Fund.
In South Yorkshire local Settlement Funding has reduced in real terms by £310.4m since 2018, while successful bids through the Levelling Up Fund, Towns Fund and Community Renewal Fund have only refunded a total of £228.5m, showing a £81.9m real-terms loss for the area since the Government’s levelling up agenda was announced.
Labour says that for levelling up to truly deliver on this promise, the Government must meet the ambitions people have for our own communities, specifically, this means:
- Good jobs in our home towns, so young people have choices and chances and don’t have to get out to get on.
- Our high streets are thriving because the local economy is thriving, with good local businesses and money in people’s pockets – not just papering over the cracks.
- Our towns and villages are better connected to jobs, opportunities, our family and our friends through good transport, digital infrastructure and affordable housing that we have too often missed out on.
- We get the power to take local decisions for ourselves – ending the system where we have to go cap in hand to Westminster to do things we know will work for us.
- Our town centres are safe and welcoming instead of plagued by anti-social behaviour, with criminals being let off and victims let down.
John said: “Despite all the talk of ‘levelling up’ South Yorkshire has been left almost £82m worse off since 2018.
“The Conservatives give with one hand and take more with the other. This needs to end. It’s not good enough to hold out small pots of money for northern areas to scrap over.
“With these tests, we will see if the Government really intend to match the ambition we have for our communities with the power and resources we are owed.
“Labour would boost our economy making sure jobs and prosperity are spread fairly across the country, so people don’t have to move hundreds of miles away just to get on.”