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Economy Economy

Create prosperous towns and cities across the country

Last updated: 09:56am 9 October 2019

Prosperous towns and cities, underpinned by strong local institutions, the relocation of government functions, and shared cultural assets across the country.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.12

Our verdict

This is a pledge to generate growth and renewal in towns and cities across the country, to reduce regional inequality. The government intends to achieve this by devolving new powers, strengthening local institutions and sharing cultural assets across the country. There have been many developments related to this policy under the current administration.

Connected measures at the national level include:

More specifically, in March 2019, the government launched a £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund. It will allocate £1 billion using a needs-based formula.

”More than half this share (£583 million) will go to towns across the North with a further £322 million allocated to communities in the Midlands. Communities will be able to draw up job-boosting plans for their town… Another £600 million will be available through a bidding process to communities in any part of the country.”

In September 2019, the government combined the Stronger Towns Fund with the Future High Streets Fund, adding about £1 billion for a grand total of £3.6 billion. In addition, the government launched the Coastal Communities Fund, with over £10 million for five coastal communities.

With a set of national policies at various stages of implementation and a £3.6 billion needs-based fund for towns, we can see the government working towards reducing regional inequalities, so we consider this pledge ‘in progress’. However, we can’t assume these initiatives will result in “prosperity”, so we will keep an eye on reports from city councils and data about regional economic development, such as the Sub-National Legatum UK Prosperity Index. To get updates when we add them, follow this policy.

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