‘Five Towns let down again’: MP Yvette Cooper slams government over Levelling Up funding snub

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper has accused the government of not giving the area a “fair deal” as it missed out again in the latest round of Levelling Up funding.
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The government this week allocated £1bn to 55 projects across the UK in the third and final round of Levelling Up funding.

Knottingley was excluded from the list for a second time.

Wakefield Council was provisionally awarded more than £15m to help revamp the Ridings Centre as part of its city centre regeneration plans.

Yvette CooperYvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper
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In January, a £20m bid to help bring jobs to South Kirkby and an £18m proposal to help regenerate Knottingley were both rejected.

Ms Cooper criticised the latest decision to exclude Knottingley, claiming the town is one of the hardest hit areas by Conservative austerity cuts.

She said: “The Tory Government has let our towns down again.

“Knottingley badly needs new investment in the town centre and in sports facilities, that’s why I urged Wakefield Council to bid for additional funding.

Knottingley Hill TopKnottingley Hill Top
Knottingley Hill Top

“Yet once again the Tories have rejected those plans.

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“Neither Knottingley nor the rest of the Five Towns are getting a fair deal. Nor are the Conservatives setting out a serious industrial policy to support local jobs, or tackling the cost of living crisis – things that Labour is calling for.

“Our towns deserve better than this.”

Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “Our plans to invest in our communities are at the heart of everything we do, and we will always continue to lobby for the very best for our district.

“We need significant funding to be able to deliver our ambitions and create a vibrant future for our city.

“But these bids were submitted well over a year ago and plans will need to be reconsidered which takes time and resources.

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“Whilst avoiding a competitive bidding process is welcome, it would be much more efficient for the Government to provide us with an allocation of funding based on local need, which we can then decide where this would be best spent.”