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:
- Dec 2018 – Local industrial strategies to promote growth
- Jan 2019 – A £20 million Cultural Development Fund to support initiatives outside London
- Jan 2019 – Publication of the Clean Air Strategy
- Mar 2019 – Devolution deal for the North of Tyne and new agreements with West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
- Jul 2019 – 12 Institutes of technology due to be opened across the country
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.
Prosper with the facts!
- Stronger Towns Fund: Where are the most deprived UK areas? – Open Access Government
- UK Stronger Towns Fund only 10% of what UK would receive from EU Cohesion funds – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions
- Bridging the gap between London and the rest of the UK – Centre for London
- Cities, Prosperity and Influence – British Council
- Support local growth through combined authorities, mayoralties and local enterprise partnerships
- Back scientific and technical institutions
- Ensure more support for arts goes outside London
- Reduce litter
- Encourage best practice in the design of buildings and public spaces
- Improve air quality in urban areas