Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Rishi Sunak appoints Towns Tsar [January 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 25 January 2024.

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has appointed Adam Hawksbee as interim Chair for the new high-powered Towns Unit to ensure the voices of UK towns are heard loud and clear across government and that vital regeneration comes to life.

Adam, Deputy Director of the think tank Onward, will help deliver the government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns, backed by £1.1 billion overall, to regenerate 55 towns around the country so people can feel proud of the place they call home.

Each town will receive a 10-year endowment-style fund with £20 million of funding and support to deliver long-term projects focused on the issues that matter most to local people, including regenerating high streets, protecting local heritage and cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

The Unit will ensure the Long-Term Plan for Towns delivers its promise by supporting local leaders to develop proposals, encouraging further investment from businesses and making sure that Towns Boards become long-term institutions that serve their communities.

Adam will be visiting towns up and down the country and reporting directly back to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove on how these places can better level up.

This work as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns will help local people continue to feel the benefits of a bettering economy – ensuring a brighter future for Britain and more opportunity for generations to come.

Towns Unit Chairman Adam Hawksbee said:

It’s an honour to be heading up this vital work, which will empower communities to transform their towns. The Long-Term Plan for Towns puts local people at the heart of change, letting them choose their own priorities. Whether that’s making high streets safer and cleaner, improving transport links or celebrating local heritage, we will help towns to rebuild a sense of pride.

Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young said:

Towns have been taken for granted for too long and local leaders need long-term funding that goes directly to community priorities, instead of being caught up in public sector red tape. I am excited to be working with Adam to deliver our Long Term Plan for Towns to put power in the hands of communities so that they can decide on local priorities and what’s best their future.

Adam’s work to date has focused on increasing economic growth and strengthening communities across the UK.

He has published research on a range of topics including empowering regional mayors, tackling antisocial behaviour and reforming technical education. He was also previously Head of Policy to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Adam will be undertaking the role on a part-time basis, alongside his position as Deputy Director of Onward.