• Friday, December 02, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Johnson unveils urban renewal plan as ‘levelling up’ begins

(Photo by Matt Dunham-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

REFOCUSING attention on his “leveling up” plans, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a series of urban renewal projects worth 830 million pounds in towns and cities away from London.

“As the country gets back on its feet, the government has renewed its commitment to leveling up and tackling the issues that really matter to people,” Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday (19), adding that he is determined to “seize the opportunity to create a fairer society, improve lives and build back better once and for all.”

Some 57 districts in the country will benefit from an 830 million-pound ($1.2 billion) fund which will be used to transform town centers into “vibrant places to live, work and shop.”

As a result of the funding, Grimsby will get a new cinema and market food hall to boost visitor numbers, Taunton will build a new outdoor performance venue and Sutton-in-Ashfield will repurpose vacant retail space into offices and hospitality venues.

More than 3,000 interior and business ministry jobs would move to Stoke-on-Trent in central England, Edinburgh, and Belfast by 2025. This is part of the government’s commitment to move 22,000 civil service roles outside of London and the South East by 2030, ensuring more policymakers reflect the communities they serve, as per Gov.UK.

The new “leveling up” plans also include a 10 million-pound package to boost teaching in four English districts that have lower than average numbers of pupils in good or outstanding schools. Another 18 million pounds will aim to help vulnerable young people from the most disadvantaged areas. 

Johnson has long promised to “level up” prosperity across the U.K. This pledge said to have contributed largely to Conservative Party winning a big majority in the 2019 election, particularly in the traditional Labour heartlands of northern England. Moving government jobs into Scotland is expected to help him win more support in the region.

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