Dorset: Increasing Opportunity

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons on 29th November 2021.

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Photo of Chris Loder Chris Loder Conservative, West Dorset

What steps he is taking to increase opportunity in Dorset.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government are committed to levelling up the whole country, and Dorset is no exception. The new community renewal fund is investing in enterprise and skills training for young people in Dorset. The local growth fund in Dorset has contributed more than £98 million to 54 projects. We are also investing nearly £12 million into Dorset through the getting building fund to stimulate job creation and support the region’s economic recovery.

Photo of Chris Loder Chris Loder Conservative, West Dorset

Dorset Council has historically been very financially responsible, spending wisely according to need, but now we are facing more pressure than ever, particularly from the cost of social care and the need to provide vital rural transport links. Will my hon. Friend confirm that Dorset will get its fair share in the upcoming local government funding settlement? Will he and his Front-Bench colleagues do all they can to support any future levelling-up funding requests from Dorset?

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. Yes, the Government are providing approximately £1.6 billion in additional grant funding in the LGDEL— local government departmental expenditure limit— each year. That follows year-on-year real-terms increases for local government since the 2019 spending review. It will allow councils to increase spending on vital public services such as social care. We will set out more details in the upcoming provisional local government finance settlement later this year.