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Government publishes Towns Fund Prospectus

The government has published more details about how its £3.6bn Towns Fund will work.

The communities secretary Robert Jenrick has today (November 1) published a Towns Fund Prospectus, which contains more information for the shortlist of 100 places around the country that have been invited to develop proposals for the fund.

It states that each place will have the opportunity to bid for up to £25m from the £3.6bn pot.

According to the government, the £25m could be used to redevelop vacant buildings and land, drive private sector investment by supporting small businesses and ensure young people have the skills they need to get good jobs.

Communities will also be able to consider how they can boost their transport links and increase access to high-speed broadband.

The shortlist includes 42 places across the Northern Powerhouse and 33 places in the Midlands Engine, including Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough.

The 100 places will also receive a share of £16.4m capacity funding to kickstart their plans.

The prospectus also states that lead councils  in each place will now bring together a Town Deal Board including representatives from across the public, private and voluntary sectors to develop bespoke town investment plans by summer 2020.

It adds these plans should provide a clear vision for building on their town’s unique strengths to transform its economic growth prospects and form  the  basis of negotiations with the government.

‘This government is committed to levelling up all parts of the country,’ said Mr Jenrick.

‘We created the £3.6bn Towns Fund to help businesses grow, connect communities and give people the skills they need to succeed.

‘But no place is exactly the same. That is why we want to help local people to decide how this investment of up to £25m in each town can be used to help create new businesses, new jobs and new homes for generations to come.’

The County Councils Network spokesperson for economic growth and industrial strategy, and leader of Derbyshire County Council, Cllr Barry Lewis, commented: If this funding is to genuinely improve and enhance towns and ensure our areas are better connected as part of the ‘levelling up’ agenda, then this requires a joint effort from all of those who know their local economies well – from residents, to local businesses, to councils.

‘Therefore, we are pleased that county authorities will be on the delivery boards of this fund. Counties’ role in delivering growth, transport and infrastructure to improve local economies  and connectivity will form an important part of how this funding is spent. Counties have a track record of working closely with their communities whilst having the capacity and size to effectively work across wider geographies in addition to immediate towns, providing strategic oversight for place-based growth.’

The full Towns Fund Prospectus document is available to read here.

Photo Credit – Derwiki (Pixabay)

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