Budget 2021: Nearly £50m for Wakefield and Castleford welcomed but no mention of compensation for Covid costs

Wakefield Council's leader has welcomed money in today's budget that will be used to help our towns and city recover.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:33 pm

Coun Denise Jeffery Leader of Wakefield Council, has responded to today’s budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak by welcoming investment funds into the district but says it still falls far short of what is needed.

Coun Jeffery said: “Investment into the district is of course very welcome and we will, as always, do all we can to bring in as much investment as possible to benefit our residents, businesses and local communities.

“With significant investment from the Towns Fund - £24.9m for Wakefield and £23.9m for Castleford - will help support plans to boost our highstreets as we recover from the effects of the pandemic. However, more funding will be needed to guarantee the future of towns and high streets. This is why we are continuing to develop masterplans for places across the district.

“However, it is disappointing to note that there is no mention of Council’s being fully compensated for the costs incurred due to the pandemic. But good news that grants to businesses will continue to be funded.

“The hit to our local economy and to local jobs looks to continue. If the government predictions are right, the Wakefield economy will be around £220m smaller than previously predicted. That is why local businesses still need supporting by government and why we will do all we can to go on supporting them, and helping people develop new skills to support them into employment.”

Yvette Cooper said: "Our campaign has paid off and the Government has said we will get over £20m for new investment in Castleford Town Centre that we bid for.

"This is much needed and extremely welcome news and gives us the chance to get investment in the town centre, the riverside and in local jobs and skills. I’ve been working with Wakefield Council, local community groups, Castleford Tigers Foundation & local businesses to draw up the bid.

"After ten years of austerity that has hit our towns hardest, we’ve been fighting for a fair deal. Thank you to everyone who helped us draw up our bid."