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MPs call for fund to level up ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods

More than 40 MPs and peers have called on Boris Johnson to create a Community Wealth Fund to invest in the UK’s most ‘left behind’ places. 

The letter signed by 41 politicians from both the House of Commons and Lords has called on the prime minister to ensure that 225 ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods in England do not miss out on benefiting from the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

It follows the chancellor’s announcement of a £4bn Levelling Up Fund in last month’s Spending Review.

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘Left Behind’ Neighbourhoods are calling on the government to go further by implementing a series of specific proposals put forward by the Conservative MP, Danny Kruger, in his recent report.

Among the recommendations to receive the backing of MPs is a plan to use £2 billion of dormant assets earmarked for local projects to create a new Community Wealth Fund targeted specifically at ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods.

It forms the centrepiece of a new social contract in which local people are properly supported and empowered to play an active role in reinvigorating their own communities.

This proposal is also backed by the Community Wealth Fund Alliance, a group of over 320 civil society, public and private sector organisations including the Salvation Army, NCVO, YMCA and 21 local authorities.

‘The government must act to guarantee investment in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods,’ said APPG chair, Dame Diana Johnson.

‘Creating a new fund of this kind would be a catalyst for long-term change by empowering communities to act on issues that matter most to them, making them stronger and better equipped to respond to flux and uncertainty.

‘We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to sustain and build on the extraordinary levels of civic spirit and mutual aid that has been so vital in enabling communities to withstand the damage wrought by the pandemic – but this effort needs to be backed by funding.’

Alexander Stafford, a signatory of the letter and the first ever Conservative to be elected to represent the former ‘red wall’ seat of Rother Valley, added: ‘It is imperative that people who feel they have missed out for too long, living in ‘left behind’ places on the edges of towns and cities which lack the opportunities enjoyed by people living just a few miles away, are placed at the very heart of our mission to level up.

‘I am committed to doing the very best for my constituency and that means not leaving any neighbourhood or any person behind. Investment in jobs, housing and transport is critical but the ties that bind us are formed in local places to meet, where communities build plans, ideas and projects for the common good.’

Photo Credit – Free-Photos (Pixabay)

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