Levelling Up Fund disappointment

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reacts to the disappointing news Birmingham’s bids to the second round of the Levelling Up Fund were unsuccessful...

This week we received the disappointing news that Birmingham’s five ambitious bids to the second round of the Levelling Up Fund were not successful. In fact, most bids across the West Midlands were rejected by the government.

The five bids that we put forward had the support of the local Members of Parliament, and our partners across the city, and would have had a transformative impact on the communities of Birmingham.

Ever since Boris Johnson’s government began speaking about ‘Levelling Up’ we have made it clear that you cannot level up the United Kingdom without levelling up Birmingham. The challenges that we face are clear: 42% of our children grow up in relative poverty, there is a ten-year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas of the city, and our unemployment rate is double the national average.

The five bids that we put forward would have been transformational in renovating two of our local high streets and town centres in Erdington and Northfield, breathing new life into the communities and providing new facilities for local residents. Another bid would have helped us in our work to transform Druids Heath, the most-deprived area in Birmingham and one of the most-deprived areas in the country.

We also had a bid in to government that would have helped some of the city’s most economically and socially deprived communities in the Edgbaston constituency. Finally, we had submitted an ambitious bid to develop the National Centre for the Decarbonisation of Heat, working alongside partners at Tyseley Energy Park and the University of Birmingham to help on our route to zero.

Sadly, as analysis of this round of funding shows, more money has been awarded to wealthy areas in the south-east and I was surprised to see some very affluent areas of the country awarded funding.

I remain committed to levelling up for the people and communities of Birmingham and to tackling the city's big challenges, and I have requested an urgent meeting with the Government to understand how the Government plans to work with us to deliver for our city.

In the meantime, we will continue to support people across Birmingham during this Cost-of-Living crisis. For more support and help please visit our Help in Brum page.

This blog was posted on 20 January 2023

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