Levelling Up: Empowering Local Leaders

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons on 16th May 2022.

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Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Conservative, Barrow and Furness

What steps his Department is taking to help empower local leaders to level up their communities.

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

The Department is delivering the Government’s plan to empower local leaders, including offering devolution deals by 2030 to anywhere in England that wants one.

Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Conservative, Barrow and Furness

I thank the Secretary of State for visiting Barrow recently to see how the £25 million town deal and the £16 million levelling-up funding will transform our community.

Cumbria has just elected its first ever councillors to the new Westmorland and Furness Council and Cumberland Council. This is a historic moment for our county. Does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that there is further to go and that the new councillors have the opportunity to secure a bountiful devolution deal that supercharges the county with an elected Mayor? What advice would he give to them?

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

I agree with my hon. Friend. I was in Barrow and Furness a couple of weeks ago, and I was struck by the fantastic progress he is helping to drive using levelling-up funds, such as the marina village, the new bridge, the new university campus and more. I was also struck by the common linkages and opportunities across Cumbria, and I can see the case for an ambitious devolution deal covering both new authorities once they are up and running.