‘More of the same’: Tony Lloyd tears into government’s levelling up plan

Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, has blasted the government’s plan to ‘level up’ the country, saying it gives us ‘more of the same’, and backs Labour’s five-point test which outlines what the government’s Levelling Up plan must do in order to deliver on the promises of the 2019 election.

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.

Tony said, “Rochdale is mentioned several times in the Levelling Up plan, but it won’t be receiving any new money. In fact, local Settlement Funding has reduced and no successful bids through levelling up funding have been forthcoming, meaning an astonishing £31.2m real-terms loss for the borough since the government’s levelling up agenda was announced in 2018.

“Weirdly, the redevelopment of the Fire Service museum is highlighted, but if Ministers had actually paid attention they would have realised it was completed and reopened last year.

“A few pots of money to scrap over or some new tiers of bureaucracy won’t cut it.

“What the government has given us is more of the same. We need to change the settlement of our country back in favour of those who built it. That means growing our economy, and ensuring jobs and opportunities are spread fairly across the country so that young people in Rochdale don’t have to get out to get on.”

Setting out the tests last Sunday, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Lisa Nandy 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.”