17 Jan Parliament to discuss Levelling Up in the East of England
East of England MPs will make the case in Parliament on Tuesday 18th January that the Government’s Levelling Up agenda should deliver support to the region’s deprived areas – such as Great Yarmouth, Harlow, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Luton, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea and Tendring – so that those living there can achieve their full potential.
The Westminster Hall Debate, secured by East of England APPG Co-chair Peter Aldous MP, will warn that the Spending Review appears to leave places and communities in the East of England in danger of falling further behind and that “levelling up other areas of England must not be done at the expense of the East of England’s deprived towns and coastal communities”.
Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien MP, will reply to the points raised by a range of MPs – including APPG Co-chair Daniel Zeichner, Duncan Baker, Giles Watling, Matthew Hancock, Clive Lewis, Anthony Brown and others.
These are likely to include that the imminent Levelling Up White Paper should recognise that for the East of England the following issues are critical:
that levelling up affects rural and coastal areas as well as city and urban populations;
localised and long-term infrastructure interventions are required to improve connectivity, including transport and digital, and the public realm;
addressing low pay through investment in social infrastructure including skills and the VCSE
The debate is also likely to question the levels of funding allocated in the Spending Review as the East of England received the second lowest per-capita spend of any region (£92 per person) with only London receiving less. Compared to the UK average of £184 per person, and the £359 per person received by Yorkshire and the Humber.
The Levelling Up Fund is another example of the East of England not receiving an equitable share. The region received £87m through successful bids from Peterborough, Luton, Central Bedfordshire, and Southend-on-Sea. The per capita amount of funding received by the East of England (£13.88) is over a third less than the national average (£23.91), and three times lower than the East Midlands (£41.72).