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HomeNewsMP: Calls for urgent investment in Armley are being 'ignored' by Government

MP: Calls for urgent investment in Armley are being ‘ignored’ by Government

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has criticised the Government for ignoring communities like Armley when awarding £1bn towards 45 areas of England as part of the Budget.

Chancellor Richi Sunak announced a package of support from the Towns Fund for town centres across the UK.

But Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves said there were 45 towns named from a total of 56 constituencies. 47 of these are Conservative constituencies, including 14 gained from Labour at the 2019 election and only nine are Labour constituencies. Ms Reeves said:

“I don’t begrudge any town getting financial support, especially at a time when so many High Streets and communities are struggling, but this needs to be done fairly and transparently.

“Instead, the Chancellor has used the Budget to pump cash into Tory-held areas while ignoring areas in Leeds West that are in desperate need of support. 

“He gave the vast majority of the available cash in several regeneration funds to areas represented by Tory MPs. Almost 90% of the Towns Fund will go to Conservative constituencies. That’s scandalous.”

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Ms Reeves five Cabinet Ministers have won money from the Towns Fund to fix regional inequality as part of a scheme to invest £1 billion in 45 towns.  She added:

“Meanwhile, all the calls from myself, campaigners and community organisations for urgent investment in places like Armley are being ignored. 

“It’s a terrible insight into this Tory government’s real priorities and how – just as with the Covid contracts – their cronies and political pals are first in the queue when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money. 

“For all their talk of ‘levelling up’, ministers are levelling down by depriving areas like Armley of funding, while finding money for Conservative areas.

“Everyone in Armley has worked hard to try to improve Armley Town Street.  We were making progress, but the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown has set that work back. “

Ms Reeves said Government funding was needed to make ‘genuine improvements. in places like Armley. She added:

“We need to know exactly how decisions are made about how this money is allocated and an end to the cynical stitch-ups and unjust way that ministers are trying to channel public funds to Conservative areas instead of those communities that need it most.”

Leeds City Council was told in July 2019 that its bid to the government’s Future High Streets Fund to ‘renew and reshape’ Armley Town Street had been unsuccessful.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons the criteria was entirely objective, looking at data, poverty and employment. He added:

“The formula for the grant payments for the new fund is based on an index of economic need.”

Armley Town Street has been blighted in recent years by issues with anti-social behaviour and street drinking.

But in an open letter published last July, Armley’s councillors said that street drinking and anti-social behaviour had reduced prior to lockdown following a concerted effort by police and other agencies and the implementation of public service protection orders (PSPOs).

2 COMMENTS

  1. Armley used to be a nice family shopping centre. What changed? On the odd occasion I now go, the atmosphere is intimidating.

  2. Money was thrown at improving armley town street just a few years back and many said to me it was a waste of money because of the locals not caring for their own area, looks like they were right.

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