Treasury – in the House of Commons on 15th November 2022.
What recent estimate he has made of levels of (a) public and (b) private investment in Bolton.
The Government have made significant recent public investment in Bolton. For example, the first round of the levelling-up fund invested £20 million to create the Bolton College of Medical Sciences, and Bolton received £22.9 million from the towns fund to support its long-term economic and social regeneration. On the second part of the hon. Lady’s question, the Government do not routinely make estimates of private investment in towns.
Last week, I met the chief executive of Bolton and Bury citizens advice bureau. Among the many pieces of work that it does, it employs money advisers. However, the Money and Pensions Service—the arm’s length body that funds citizens advice bureaux—is set to lose 10% of its funding. For my local branch, that means about £22,000, or the cost of one member of staff. With demand for its services doubling, given the energy and cost of living crises, how can the Chancellor push through those callous cuts to a scheme that supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable in Bolton? Will he reverse those cuts?
The hon. Lady refers to the Money and Pensions Service. During the pandemic, additional Government grants were made available to support debt advisers. Some of that money was not used. There has been an attempt to look at how that money is distributed, but I would be happy to take this matter back and refer it to the Economic Secretary to see what can be done to give clarification.
It is not just in Bolton but in the adjoining area of Darwen and Rossendale that we welcome public sector investment, such as the Darwen town deal, which is investing £100 million. However, we are keenly interested to hear what those on the Treasury Bench will do to support capital investment, particularly in manufacturing businesses. We hope that in the forthcoming autumn statement the Government will give some support to our great manufacturers in Lancashire.
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right; it is critical that we maintain capital investment, use that money efficiently, focus on outputs and outcomes, and ensure that we set the conditions for growth in the economy.