CALLS are being made for the government to ‘level up’ and improve the North of England.
Southport MP Damien Moore led a Westminster debate on ‘North of England: Infrastructure Spending’ earlier this month, when he called for Ministers to grant proposals worth £50million to boost Southport through the Town Deal. He also called for the restoration of the Burscough Curves, to reconnect direct rail travel between Southport, Preston and Ormskirk.
Last week he spoke again in Parliament, when he challenged Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to spend some of the £4billion infrastructure investment fund on improving Southport.
The Chancellor’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ aims to invest in infrastructure with ‘a visible impact on people and their communities’ in the UK. It was announced as part of the Spending Review in November to help places to build back from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Moore said: “My right Honourable Friend announced the national infrastructure bank, which will be headquartered in the North of England, and a £4billion infrastructure investment fund. Can he outline more of the details of those proposals and how, in particular, forthcoming projects will benefit my constituents in Southport?”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak replied: “The new national infrastructure bank will invest in projects like transport, digital infrastructure and renewable energy through a series of loans, guarantees, equity and other hybrid products.
“The levelling-up fund will fund what I call the infrastructure of everyday life - projects up to £20million that can be delivered quickly, make a tangible difference to our constituents and increase the pride we feel in the places we call home.”
Speaking after the debate, Mr Moore said that helping the North of England to recover from the Colvid-19 pandemic must be a priority for the Government.
He has previously highlighted figures published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in October, which reveal that spending on infrastructure was higher per person in London, at £1,461 a year on average over a five-year period, than in the North West, where the average was £979; the North East, where it was £793; and Yorkshire and the Humber, where it was £744.
He said: “The North has historically seen greater adversity and has seen unparalleled disruption, compared with other parts of the country. That has exposed the deep structural, systematic disadvantage that we face.
“I am calling on this Government to recognise the urgent need to redress those inequalities and to invest in infrastructure, which will unleash the North’s potential.
“In Southport, we have submitted a list of proposals worth £50million through the Town Deal, and have also delivered a business plan to reinstate the Burscough Curves which would restore direct rail services between Southport, Preston and Ormskirk.
“I will continue campaigning to ensure that we get the best deal we can for Southport and for the North of England, helping us to build back strongly from this devastating pandemic.”