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Response to Guardian article on levelling up

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The Guardian's article published online and p10 today (Monday, 4 March 2024) claims that less than 20% of levelling up projects have completed in England. This is inaccurate as it only focuses on one strand of funding from the over £12billion we’re investing into levelling up across England.  


We have made significant progress to level up regions across England, with funding committed to different initiatives that tackle levelling up at every angle.  


This includes our flagship England-only Towns Fund worth £3.6 billion – the focus of the Guardian’s article. This programme began funding areas in 2021 with a timeframe of up to 2026 to spend this cash on projects that kick off vital regeneration over the next few years.


This is a significant fund creating long-term and meaningful change for local people in England, including our most overlooked places – creating opportunities where they have been lost. And it is making excellent progress in doing so. The fact that 20% of Towns Fund projects were due to complete by end of last month (February 2024) shows the programme is progressing healthily on its way to supporting our key levelling up missions.


We’ve seen over 100 Towns Fund projects come to fruition already and we expect that number to almost double by the end of this year. We are pleased to see these successes, which are being completed within the timeframes committed to when the Towns Fund was announced.  


Some brilliant examples of projects already in action include Warrington’s Health and Social Care Academy which was brought to life with the support of £976,000 from the area’s £22.1 million Town Deal. Thanks to this funding, Warrington now has a cutting-edge facility dedicated to supporting people’s professional progression into health and social care jobs, creating career opportunities for the area.  


A Green Construction Skills Village visited by the Prime Minister in January has also come to life in Scarborough thanks to over £500,000 funding support from its £20.2million Town Deal. This investment has helped increase the range and level of training courses available for a larger annual cohort of learners, supporting more local people in a new and thriving sector.  


These are just a couple of examples of how our Towns Fund is creating long-term change for local people, with many more major projects set to benefit communities very soon. We’re supporting areas to complete these projects in a challenging economic climate - making it quicker and easier for them to adapt plans where needed. We remain on hand to provide further specialist support to ensure projects remain on track.  


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