Tories pledge £20m each of levelling-up funds to 30 more towns

Estimated read time 3 min read

The Conservatives have promised to give another 30 towns in the UK £20m each in levelling up funding over the next decade if they win the election.

Rishi Sunak said the 30 would be added to the government’s long-term plan for towns, which is intended to pay for the regeneration of underfunded areas.

Under this plan, each town receives a £20m endowment-style fund to invest over the next 10 years. An additional 30 – including Mansfield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Hartlepool – would bring the total number of towns in the scheme to more than 100.

The proposals would cost £60m a year and be funded by the Conservatives’ promised crackdown on tax avoidance, which they claim would raise £6bn a year.

Of this £6bn, £2.4bn has already been committed to pensions and £1bn to create a mandatory national service.

Labour has accused the Tories of making billions of pounds of unfunded promises. Sunak has unveiled a flurry of policy commitments this week in an effort to make a dent in Labour’s commanding 20-point poll lead.

The prime minister said: “We the Conservatives have a plan for towns because we know they are the beating heart of our country. This bold action will transform 30 more towns – reviving their high streets, growing their local economies and making people feel proud of the place they call home.

“Labour’s record in government shows they don’t care about towns – neglecting their needs, allowing them to decline and focusing instead on cities. Sir Keir Starmer has no plan to unlock opportunities in towns and would take us back to square one.

“Building on our strong track record of levelling up in Teesside and the Midlands, we will go further across the country to build a secure future for our children and grandchildren.”

Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, said: “This bold action will be transformational for towns around the country. It will allow local people to take back control – creating better jobs, improving transport and generating more investment.”

Gove announced at the start of the campaign that he would be retiring from parliament at this election.

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Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, said: “Just days ago, Rishi Sunak raided levelling up cash to fund his teenage Dad’s Army [plans to bring back national service]. Today he’s back making yet another reckless unfunded spending commitment, sure to be broken as quickly as it was made.

“Everywhere you look, communities up and down the country are feeling the impact of 14 years of Tory decline: boarded-up shops, soaring bills, and a widening wage gap with London.

“Labour will turn the page on the Conservatives’ chaos by boosting growth in every corner of the country, putting more money in people’s pockets, and giving them control over what matters.”


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