West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has backed the five tests set by Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up Lisa Nandy, which the Government’s Levelling Up plan must meet in order to deliver on their promises from the 2019 election.
Talking about why these tests are important, MP Rosie pointed to new research from Labour revealing 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 West Lancashire, local Settlement Funding has reduced and no additional or alternative levelling up funding has been forthcoming for the area, meaning a £3.4million real-terms loss for West Lancashire since the Government’s levelling up agenda was announced in 2018.
The research found that 144 local authority areas in England were still worse off by approximately £50 million on average even after receiving Levelling Up funding.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“While the Government is distracted cleaning up the Prime Minister’s scandals, they aren’t governing and they aren’t delivering for West Lancashire.
“Where are the Burscough Curves and when are they going to deliver the funding they have repeatedly committed to? And for one of the largest towns in the country not connected by rail, we need to see money allocated to deliver Skelmersdale train station – now! And what happened to the Prime Ministers promise of money to fix the flooding of the Skelmersdale underpasses?
“If the Government wants to prove it is about actions and not just words, we need to see the investment; in Ormskirk hospital, our roads, town centres, flood defence and amenities and services such as GPs, schools, policing and youth provision.
“With these tests, we will see if the Government really intends to match the ambition we have for our communities with the power and resources we are owed.”
Setting out the tests, Ms Nandy, also the Wigan MP said:
“It simply will not be good enough to give us more of the same – pots of our money to scrap over – without real power on what it’s spent on or a few new mayors. We need to change the settlement of our country back in favour of those who built it.
“For levelling up to truly deliver on this promise, the Government must meet the ambitions people have for our own communities, specifically, this means:
1. Good jobs in our home towns, so young people have choices and chances and don’t have to get out to get on.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Our town centres are safe and welcoming instead of plagued by anti-social behaviour, with criminals being let off and victims let down.”