Telford MP Lucy Allan welcomes £25 million ‘boost’ from government fund
Telford's MP has welcomed a pledge by the Government to scale up investment and infrastructure in the UK, saying it will bring benefits to the town.
But it comes as the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has written a letter to two cabinet ministers saying some firms affected by the coronavirus outbreak are still in desperate need of financial support.
Lucy Allan says the Government’s Towns Fund sees £25 million allocated to Telford to drive growth and to encourage innovation and enterprise.
She says HS2 will also be fast-tracked, allowing more direct services between Telford Central and New Street, Dudley and Euston, while investment into flood defences will also be welcomed in the borough.
“I am delighted that the Government not only continues to deliver on the ambitious manifesto it was elected on, but is accelerating its agenda to meet the challenges presented by Covid," she said.
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"It is clear that the promises made to the public in December are the central driving force of this Government, which has a mission to level up the country and reduce inequalities wherever they exist.
"This is good news for Telford and the West Midlands, which will directly benefit from measures announced by the Prime Minister. My constituents will benefit from improved infrastructure, public services and a focus on dynamism to drive innovation and rapid change.
"This spending is much needed at this challenging time, and will allow Telford to seize the opportunities of the post-Covid world."
Meanwhile, Council leader Shaun Davies has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick asking that local authorities be allowed to provide support to more businesses, through their local discretionary grant schemes.
He asks that councils be allowed to use an 'underspend' of business grant money already received from Government, which current rules prevent councils from doing so.
In Telford and Wrekin’s case, this would be worth more than £6 million for borough business – in contrast, the funding it received for its discretionary scheme was just below £1.5 million.
The letter highlights that Telford & Wrekin is among the top performers in the country for paying out business grants as quickly as possible, however, the criteria for these mean that many businesses have yet to receive any help.
Councillor Davies has raised concerns that many businesses in the borough have not yet been able to access any grants under either scheme, particularly the self-employed and many of the borough’s small and medium sized manufacturing companies.
He said: “I am asking the ministers to take a sensible and pragmatic approach and allow us to help those that so far we’ve not been able to.
“Most councils are, like us, being made to sit on an underspend in business support funding they received.
"This is money we’d love to boost our local discretionary scheme and put to work straight away helping firms who desperately need this to survive."