Doncaster mayor Ros Jones criticises government Levelling Up plan - 'There's not new money'

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has criticised a plan to ‘level up’ the country as it contains ‘no mention of any new money’.
Mayor Ros JonesMayor Ros Jones
Mayor Ros Jones

Secretary of State Michael Gove set out his white paper document on how the government plans to better spread prosperity across the country including the north of England.

There were 12 ‘key missions’ set out by the government which included pledges to attain by 2030 which included:

- Improve public transport to levels on par with London

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- Move 40 per cent of research and development outside of the south-east

- Nationwide gigabit broadband and 5G coverage for the majority of people

- Pay, productivity and employment all up in every part of the country

- A marked improvement in health, education and wellbeing

- A big fall in the most serious crimes where incidents are currently high

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Doncaster has seen a number of different bids under the guise of levelling up be successful. This includes money to regenerate the Corn Exchange and St James’ Baths as well as the ability to turn a run down part of Waterdale into an office block and green space as well as clearance work along the town’s waterfront for potential projects.

In the document, Doncaster was mentioned 13 times but this was mainly mentioned in bids and schemes that had already happened or were ongoing.

Mayor Jones said: “The Levelling Up white paper holds some merit, but for any of the 12 ‘missions’ to be accomplished will require significant funding from the government over the next 10 years.“The white paper contained no mention of any ‘new money’ or how they intend to fund the Levelling Up of the country, until we see the money then ‘Levelling Up’ will be nothing more than a slogan.

“Doncaster has been successful in the first round of Levelling Up funding, with a commitment of £18.6 million for Doncaster Town Centre projects. Further Levelling Up fund bids will be developed for Don Valley & Doncaster North in future rounds.

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“This is but a small start of what is needed to level up the whole of Doncaster. We have suffered more than most at the hands of over 10 years of austerity, where council spending power has been cut by £107 million per year since 2010.”

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove said: “Levelling up is a mission – part economic, part social, part moral – to change that for good. It is about unleashing opportunity, prosperity and pride in places where, for too long, it has been held back.

“It is about growing the pie and everyone sharing in the fruits of this success, increasing not only peoples’ living standards but the length and quality of their lives.

“No single, short-term intervention can affect this change. We need to mobilise all the forces that drive progress and human flourishing – investment, skills, innovation, finance, trust and institutions. And we need to bring all sectors of society together, with the very best of government, the private sector and civil society working in partnership.”