“The government is making funds available for market towns but Telford & Wrekin Council are failing to make applications or submit sufficiently robust bids to attract these funds. This means town's are losing out on vital funds for innovation and regeneration. This new fund is in addition to the High Street's Fund but there is still no urgency by the Labour leadership. It is as if rural and semi-rural towns don't exist.”
I welcome the £212 million that has been allocated to the west midlands, but will the Secretary of State reassure my constituents that Birmingham and the urban conurbations will not gobble up most of that money and that market towns such as Shifnal, Newport and Wellington in my constituency, working with the Marches local enterprise partnership, will see a lot of this funding, not just the rump of it?
That is why this is a town-based approach, not a city deal of the kind that we have seen before. I recognise how that has benefited our cities, but we need to ensure that our towns benefit, too. It is why that lies at the heart of the fund’s structure and my hon. Friend should be confident about the towns in his area being able to make those bids. I hope and want to see them succeed.