There's a massive problem with the government's £1.6 billion for run down towns

There's a massive problem with the government's £1.6 billion for run down towns

The government has announced that it will be spending £1.6bn on deprived areas as part of its Stronger Towns Fund, however there's a massive problem with this.

In the new initiative, deprived, mostly Leave voting towns in the north of England are set to get a £1.6bn funding boost, spread over six years, which is being launched as part of a package of measures that some are saying are designed to win support for Theresa May's Brexit deal.

£1bn of the funding will go to areas across the country, with £600m available for local authorities to bid for. However, statistics show that in 2017 alone, the EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4bn, which makes the prime minister's contribution look somewhat feeble. If that estimation had stayed consistent, over the same time period the EU would have invested £28bn.


Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, secretary for communities James Brokenshire denied that the money was a 'Brexit bribe' and said it was enough to have a 'transformative' effect on deprived communities.

He also refused to say how many towns the money would be spread across, but confirmed it would be spread across six years, and that it would be allocated whatever happened in next week's meaningful vote on the EU, reports The Guardian.

Speaking to the programme, he said:

This funding is there regardless of the outcome… there is no conditionality. 

This funding is there to see that towns grow… and we leave no part of our UK left behind.

However, many Labour MPs and listeners were unimpressed and expressed their frustration on social media.

Many pointed out that the money would be spread thinly over six years.

Others wondered whether it constituted a 'Brexit bribe'.

While some mentioned Brokenshire's history in dealing with deprivation.

And others worried it meant they'd get 'beggar all'.

Announcing the Stronger Towns Fund, the prime minister said:

Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change – that must be a change for the better, with more opportunity and greater control.

These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them.

However, critics have hit back that the fact the fund has been announced a little more than a week before MPs are due to vote again on Ms May’s Brexit deal, claiming it's designed to drum up support among Labour MPs.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said:

This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation.

The reason our towns are struggling is because of a decade of cuts, including to council funding and a failure to invest in businesses and our communities.

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