The levelling-up fund continues to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life for local residents across the UK. Levelling-up fund projects that are in delivery are closely monitored through quarterly reporting, with payments made to local authorities every six months. We have also agreed a £65 million support package to ensure that local authorities have the capacity they need to deliver. I am pleased to say that details of the next round of the levelling-up fund will be outlined in due course.
For generations the people of Billingham have made a massive contribution to the British economy—through the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, among others—and they continue to do so today. Sadly, the once state-of-the-art town centre, also built on their backs, has seen better days. Can the Minister explain why, when it comes to levelling up, the Government have turned their back on those who have contributed the most and deserve investment in their town?
I suggest that perhaps the reason that some areas have been run down is due to decades of poor Labour management and investment. This Government are putting billions of pounds into regeneration, and I encourage the hon. Gentleman to make sure a bid comes in for round 3 of the levelling-up fund.
I was delighted that the Chancellor confirmed in his Budget that the next round of levelling-up fund bids would go ahead. The Minister has just said that the next round will be “in due course”. Would she like to be a bit more specific about when we might expect the deadline for bids, and will she confirm that her Department will work closely with Bradford Council to make sure that the much-needed bid for Bingley town centre will be successful next time around?
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend, who is a fantastic champion for Bingley. As I have said, the third round of the levelling-up fund will be announced in due course, but of course I will work with him and Bradford Council to ensure that the bid is as strong as it possibly can be for that round, so that we can deliver for the people of Bingley.
Barnsley Council has lost 40% of its budget and half of its workforce since 2010, which is a loss of £1.2 billion. Just £10 million has been given back to the borough through levelling-up funding, with nothing for my constituency of Barnsley East. Does the Minister really expect communities to be grateful for that?
I would encourage the hon. Member to visit the Barnsley Futures project—I actually had the pleasure of visiting those involved a few months ago—and tell me that they are not grateful.
Stoke-on-Trent was delighted to receive a UK-leading £56 million from the levelling-up fund, righting the wrongs of 70 years of Labour neglect and failure, when instead it has spent £60 million on brand-new council offices. Having already seen Tunstall’s £3.5 million for the old library and baths, will my hon. Friend allow Stoke-on-Trent another bid for the great mother town of Burslem so that we can invest in our indoor market, the Queen’s theatre and the Wedgwood Institute?
My hon. Friend is never quiet in his forthright campaigning for Stoke-on-Trent. He is a fantastic champion, and of course I will work with him to ensure that any additional funding opportunities are there for Stoke. He has had a fantastic record so far on attracting Government investment, but of course we want to do more.
Mr Speaker, you and the rest of the House will probably know that Huddersfield is a very large town that has never shown all that much interest in becoming a city, but we are feeling very aggrieved that we are not getting the help we need for some prime development projects, particularly with the old market site. Could the Minister look into our area, which is very split between Labour and Conservative—and I am asking quietly and I hope persuasively?
I very much appreciate the hon. Member’s constructive questioning, and I would of course be happy to meet him to discuss such projects further.
For decades, Ynys Môn has suffered from lack of investment. Now, thanks to this Conservative UK Government, who are committed to levelling up left-behind areas such as Ynys Môn, this has changed, with £17 million from the levelling-up fund to regenerate Holyhead and the brilliant news that Anglesey is to be a freeport. I would like to put on record in this House my sincere thanks, and those of my Ynys Môn constituents, to the UK Government—diolch yn fawr.
I want to put on record my thanks to my hon. Friend for her brilliant campaigning for Ynys Môn, really putting the island on the map. Ynys Môn is benefiting from an incredible sum of money from the levelling-up fund, and of course has the incredible benefit from that freeport, in no small part thanks to her brilliant campaigning.