Published: 22nd Jul 2020

The selection process behind the government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund has been put under the spotlight in a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) report. The watchdog published a report yesterday (21 July) after concerns of a lack of transparency were raised by opposition MPs. The government first announced the £3.6bn Towns Fund in July 2019. In September, it published the list of 100 places that would be invited to develop proposals for the Fund. The shortlist included 42 places across the Northern Powerhouse and 33 places in the Midlands Engine, including Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough. According to the NAO report, an initial assessment of all 1,082 towns in England was drawn up by officials at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. ‘Officials provided ministers with information on towns in a prioritised and ranked list, and suggestions on other factors they might consider in their selection,’ the report states. The watchdog … (To read the full article, subscribe below)