Council challenging government over Telford’s categorisation as ‘low priority’ for funding

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Cllr Shaun Davies has written to Robert Jenrick, the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to express deep concerns over the government’s recent categorisation of Telford as Category 3 (the lowest of three categories) regarding priority access to government ‘levelling up’ funding.

Council challenging government over Telford’s categorisation as ‘low priority’ for funding

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Cllr Shaun Davies has written to Robert Jenrick, the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to express deep concerns over the government’s recent categorisation of Telford as Category 3 (the lowest of three categories) regarding priority access to government ‘levelling up’ funding.

The categorisation relates to the government’s Levelling Up Fund, published in its March budget, which saw Telford’s neighbouring boroughs categorised as higher priority despite their respective lower levels of deprivation.

In his letter to Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Cllr Shaun Davies expressed the council and its partners’ frustrations at the surprising Category 3 announcement.

Cllr Davies said: “We are profoundly concerned about the immediate impact on our growth plans and the long-term implications of the borough being identified as a low priority by the government.

Stressing an urgent need, Cllr Davies added: “One quarter of Telford’s 108 neighbourhoods are in the 20% most deprived nationally and, of those, 16% are within the 10% most deprived.

“Our bafflement at the categorisation is further underscored when we look at our surrounding neighbours.  Our Marches LEP partners (Herefordshire and Shropshire) are both Category 2, despite strong recognition by the LEP that Telford is home to the areas of greatest need and challenge.

“Our neighbours in the Black Country (Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell) have all been designated Category 1 for the Levelling Up Fund, despite having comparable (and in the case of Dudley, lower) overall levels of deprivation than Telford.

“The council and our partners in the business community are extremely concerned about the implications of Telford not being able to progress its immediate plans and having to wait for an opportunity to bring forward its Levelling Up proposals.  In the meantime, our neighbours will have priority access to resources.  This risks drawing vital private sector investment away from our area despite the evident need and opportunity we represent.

“We urge government to review this situation.”

Read the full letter here: Cllr Shaun Davies' letter to Robert Jenrick 





 

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