Newark MP, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick sets off on towns' tour — but is criticised for launching in City of Wolverhampton
A new Towns Hub is to be established within the Department of Communities and Local Government to work directly with local people as they develop investment proposals and help communities share best practice to transform their towns.
In the months ahead, the Communities Secretary, Newark MP Robert Jenrick, will visit all of the 100 areas receiving funding under the £3.6bn Towns Fund to set out the Government’s ambition to restore the fabric of towns and cities, and give local people far more control in how they are invested in.
Mr Jenrick aims to hear directly from people in these communities on the specific support and investment they need.
The Towns Fund is a Government initiative aimed at levelling up the country.
The 100 towns include Newark.
Kicking off the countrywide town tour in Wolverhampton, which has been a city since 2000, Mr Jenrick said: “People have put their trust in this new Government and we’re making an immediate start to serve local communities and deliver real change, through our £3.6bn Towns Fund.
“I will visit all these areas in the coming months and make sure they’re receiving the practical support and investment they need on the ground.
“These plans will help make this decade a time of renewal for towns and communities, delivering on the Prime Minister’s bold agenda for the future.”
Mr Jenrick was criticised for choosing Wolverhampton for his landmark announcement.
He told the Advertiser: “I was born and bred in Wolverhampton and so don’t need to be told whether it is a city or not, certainly not by a Guardian journalist.”
As a part of the initiative, new expert-led advisory panel will also be convened to advise on how to revitalise towns over the next year.
The specialists, including entrepreneurs and people who have delivered real change, will help shape Government policy to support the growth agenda.
This comes as more than £16m of funding has been delivered to local authorities to help develop new innovative proposals in 100 areas across England, as part of the Towns Fund.
Each place will have the opportunity to bid for funding of up to £25m.
The Towns Hub will work directly with the 100 places, with a named representative from the department based to support local people on the development of their plan.
They will also evaluate the emerging town investment plans, share best practice across towns and build on the Towns Fund investments for potential future support to towns from across Government.
Mr Jenrick said the fund will allow the town’s future to be in the hands of local people, giving them a say in how this money is being spent by submitting ideas for how to improve skills and transport, create new jobs and regenerate their local community.
You can submit your ideas for how to improve skills and transport, create new jobs and regenerate your local community at mytown.communities.gov.uk/
Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick also announced that towns across England will be able to compete in a new Town of the Year competition.
The new competition aims to celebrate towns’ achievements, including in areas such as entrepreneurship, technology, community, enterprise and integration.
It will also support communities to come together to create a bright future and unleash their full potential through innovation, creativity and community spirit.
“To celebrate the achievements of our towns, we are launching a national Town of the Year competition,” said Mr Jenrick.
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More by this authorDan Churcher