Levelling Up Bill has 'no new money or powers' for South Yorkshire says Sheffield MP Clive Betts

A Sheffield MP has criticised the government claiming the Levelling Up Bill contains ’no new money or powers’ for South Yorkshire.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 12:28 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 12:32 pm

Clive Betts held up the 300-page bill in the House of Commons and said that despite 196 clauses not one granted new funding or powers to the region.

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Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

Mr Betts later criticised a ‘scattergun’ approach to funding, huge differences in amounts given to Sheffield and London and a lack of ‘overarching vision’.

London gets 10 times the amount for bus services per head than South Yorkshire, he stated.

He added: “Levelling up for the Conservatives has always just been a slogan to win votes rather than a serious Government policy and here is the proof. Since the last election I have been asking this Government time and time again, where is the money and new powers for levelling up and every time they have offered nothing but a scattergun approach of pots of money for small, localised projects with no overarching vision.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove (Photo by Oli Scarff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

He added: “We need the investment and powers that will transform our transport networks like expanding the tram network to Sheffield hospitals and Barnsley and Doncaster, something our new mayor has already been calling for.

“We need the powers to plan our own housing developments and urban development and the money to take back control of our buses. Without this we are still not going to see the change promised by the Government.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesperson said: “Our Levelling Up white paper sets out a long-term plan for spreading opportunity and reversing inequality by working across central and local government and the public and private sector.

“This week, we have introduced the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which will enshrine in law our 12 levelling-up missions.

“These range from closing the gap in pay and productivity between the richest and poorest areas, effectively eradicating child illiteracy and innumeracy, and closing gaps in healthy life expectancy.”

Sheffield had been chosen as one of 20 places that will be supported via a £1.5bn programme for regeneration projects, he added.

Spearheaded by Homes England, it would build on £37m already announced for Sheffield projects in the first round of the Levelling Up Fund.

Other cash included:

* Potentially £13m for the Mayoral Combined Authority for brownfield sites.

* A seven per cent increase in funding for Sheffield compared to last year, worth £33.5m.

Other ‘levelling up’ support for Sheffield included £622,000 for a project led by Sheffield Hallam University, £24.1m for Stocksbridge Towns Deal, £15.8m from the Future High Streets Fund for Sheffield City Centre, £10m over two projects from the Getting Building Fund and £64m from the Local Growth Fund which concluded in 2021.

Think tank IPPR North questioned the government's commitment to levelling up in the Chancellor’s spring statement in March

Dr Arianna Giovannini, interim director, said he failed to announce the substantial measures needed to support people on the lowest incomes.

She added: “This puts at risk the credibility of the government’s flagship levelling up agenda – which barely featured in the Chancellor’s speech.

“People in the North will now begin to question whether the government is serious about its pledge.”

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