Preet Kaur Gill, Labour Member of Parliament for Edgbaston constituency in Birmingham has backed five key metrics for success which the Government’s Levelling Up plan must meet in order to deliver on the promises of the 2019 election.
The five tests centre around basic metrics such as jobs and employment, crime, transport and the prosperity of local high streets.
In Birmingham, Local Settlement Funding has reduced in real terms by £294.4m since 2018. While successful bids through the Levelling Up Fund totalled £52.6m, it shows that they have seen a £241.7m real-terms loss for the area since the Government’s levelling up agenda was announced. This compares to research which found that in England, local authority areas were still worse off by approximately £50 million on average after receiving Levelling Up funding.
Commenting on levelling up policy, Preet Kaur Gill MP said, “While the Government is distracted cleaning up the Prime Minister’s scandals, they aren’t delivering for my constituents in Quinton, Bartley Green, Harborne and Edgbaston. Birmingham City Council has already had £800 million taken from their budget over the last decade from Conservative Governments. Now, Birmingham is £241.7 million worse off since the Government announced their levelling up agenda. That is an atrocious scandal and shows exactly how our city has been the hardest hit by this Conservative Government's policies. Even the Levelling Up Minister, Michael Gove, has said that levelling up by the Tories is rubbish. The lack of any real ambition to tackle huge regional inequality is appalling and residents of Birmingham are due so much more.
“However, it’s also imperative that the Government stops their agenda for pitting cities across the Midlands and the North against each another. Local authorities shouldn’t be fighting one another for basic funding. Every council should receive the money they need to provide vital services for its citizens. This is what I will continue to fight for on my resident's behalf.”
New statistics have shown that even before the pandemic, 12 years of Conservative attacks on public sector organisations and economic mismanagement, have meant that the UK has seen the worst year for the high street on record. 2,700 jobs were lost per week and 16,000 outlets closed for good. Thousands of businesses were forced to close including:
7,400 bank branches
Gill continued, “I have always backed local businesses as I want to see our high streets flourish. That’s why as a proud Labour and Co-operative MP, I supported the Co-op's ‘Unlock the High Street’ Campaign and at a local level launched my own ‘Save our Banks’ campaign which has seen local communities able to retain their local branches and remaining open to thousands of people who still rely on having access to cash. For me, Levelling Up has to put people at the heart of plans which gives real powers to communities to shape their own futures.”
Labour has ambitious plans to Make, Buy and Sell in Britain, providing funding for 100,000 new start-up businesses as well as investing in jobs and industries of the future throughout the UK.
Labour’s Levelling Up five tests for the Government’s Levelling Up plan include:
Good jobs in all of our cities, so young people have choices and chances and don’t have to get out to get on.
Our high streets are thriving because the local economy is thriving, with good local businesses and money in people’s pockets - not just papering over the cracks.
Our towns and villages are better connected to jobs, opportunities, our family and our friends through good transport, digital infrastructure and affordable housing that we have too often missed out on.
We get the power to take local decisions for ourselves – ending the system where we have to go cap in hand to Westminster to do things we know will work for us.
Our town centres are safe and welcoming instead of plagued by anti-social behaviour, with criminals being let off and victims let down.”