Government announces £1.6 billion for less prosperous towns, denies bribery

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The government of the land has suddenly announced a big heap of money for ‘places that have not shared in the proceeds of growth in the same way as more prosperous parts of the country’.

Revealed by no less than prime minister Theresa May, the £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund will apparently be used to ‘create new jobs, help train local people and boost economic activity’ – furthermore ‘communities’ are going to be permitted to have a say on how the funds are spent.

According to the press release, the monies are part of the ‘government’s commitment to build a more prosperous economy that works for everyone’ [sic].

However, the sudden largesse has been slammed as a bribe to sweeten MPs into supporting the prime minister’s unpopular Brexit deal, forcing the likes of communities secretary James Brokenshire to go on the radio and claim everything’s in order.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, MP Brokenshire refused to say how many towns would actually benefit from the cash, adding that the ‘funding is there regardless of the outcome…there is no conditionality’.

Anyway, the government says that £1bn will be ‘allocated using a needs-based formula’ with more than half (£583 million) going to towns across the North, and £322m allocated to the Midlands.

Meanwhile, another £600m will be made available to communities in any part of the country to bid for.

Theresa May, who has possibly been reading some Marx if the first sentence is anything to go by, said: ‘For too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread. Our economy has worked well for some places but we want it to work for all communities.

‘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.’

Here’s a breakdown of the regional allocations:

Region Allocation (£m)
North West 281
North East 105
Yorkshire and The Humber 197
West Midlands 212
East Midlands 110
South West 33
South East 37
East of England 25

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