• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

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North East must race for Levelling Up cash warns The Salvation Army

Parts of the North East have yet to see any Levelling Up cash even though nearly half the Government’s £4.8 billion* funding pot designed to tackle regional inequalities has already been spent, according to The Salvation Army.

The warning from the Church and Charity, which has identified South Tyneside, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Hexham, and Ashington as some of the areas that will miss out, follows the release of the Government’s White Paper on how it plans to level up the country.

The Salvation Army has welcomed the Government’s plans to increase opportunities, raise wages and provide decent housing across the UK. However, its calling for a rethink of how local need is calculated to ensure investment in communities where people are desperate for training and stable job opportunities. It believes Levelling Up funding should help develop local labour markets in areas that rely heavily on low skilled and low paid seasonal work or in shrinking industries.

Major David Burns, The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander for North East England, said: “The people who come to our food banks, debt and employment advice services in the North East want to work but are often held back by things beyond their control.  Poorly paid seasonal work, lack of access to affordable childcare or just no opportunity to retrain when a large local employer shuts, can trap people and entire areas in deprivation. The Levelling Up fund is a chance to invest in the people of the North East that don’t want a handout but a hand up.

“We are not criticising where funding has been allocated so far. However, with almost half the funding already spent, we are asking the Government to focus what money is left on those areas with the highest level of deprivation.

“The commitment to Level Up is a bold Government policy, but an equal playing field means reaching out to those desperate for help to make a better life for themselves and their children. Without funding, these communities will fall even deeper into social deprivation.”

The Salvation Army is calling for the Government to:

  • Reconsider how funding is allocated from the Levelling Up Fund, to ensure investment is made in the most deprived communities.
  • Develop a new plan of investment to fund childcare so that parents can access work and training opportunities.
  • Invest in skills and employment support to help individuals out of low-skill, low-wage employment.
  • Engage with communities to identify what investment will best ‘Level Up’ their areas.

The Salvation Army works in some of the poorest communities across the UK running foodbanks, providing shelter to the homeless and helping people to find work and manage their debts.

Notes to Editors:

*The Levelling Up Fund was announced in 2020 and is worth £4.8 billion, with £4 billion of this to be spent in England and £0.8 billion to be spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

**A list of local authorities who have successfully bid for Levelling Up funding so far is available on request.

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 132 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory this work includes more than 650 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691.

For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk or on Facebook (https://facebook.com/salvationarmyuk), Twitter (https://twitter.com/salvationarmyuk) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/salvationarmyuk/)

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