Below is the text of the statement made by Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the House of Commons on 9 January 2020.
Today I am announcing the opportunity for towns across England to compete in a new town of the year competition. The competition aims to celebrate towns’ achievements in areas such as entrepreneurship, technology, community, enterprise, and integration. This will help deliver on the Prime Minister’s bold agenda for the future, making this decade a time of renewal for towns and communities.
In the months ahead, I will complete a countrywide tour of all the 100 areas receiving funding under the £3.6 billion towns fund. This will ensure these places are receiving the practical support and investment they need on the ground so we can help local communities to deliver real change.
Some £16 million of funding has now been delivered to local authorities to help develop new innovative proposals in the 100 areas across England, as part of the towns fund. Each place will have the opportunity to bid for funding of up to £25 million.
To assist with this, I will establish a new towns hub’ within my Department, which will work to develop each town’s investment proposals. The hubs, based across the country will have a named representative from the Department, supporting 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.
Finally, today I am also announcing a new expert-led advisory panel, which will be convened to advise on how we can revitalise our towns over the next year. The specialists, including entrepreneurs and people who have delivered real change, will help shape this Government’s policy to support the growth agenda.
These announcements reaffirms out the Government’s ambition to level up the country. It sets out how we will help restore the fabric of our towns and cities and give local people far more control in how they are invested in, and to hear directly from people in these communities on the specific support and investment they need.