New hospital for Doncaster and proper council funding would be true 'levelling up' says mayor Ros Jones

A delayed document detailing the Government’s plans for ‘levelling up’ the country with big infrastructure projects in areas like Doncaster ‘cannot come soon enough’, Mayor Ros Jones has said.

Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 11:42 am
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones

According to ministers, the Levelling Up White Paper aims to ‘present an opportunity to reset the relationship’ between national and local government and put councils at the ‘heart of delivering the Government’s ambitious programme’ to improve opportunities in all parts of the country.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is under pressure to release the document which could include big spending plans on infrastructure such as transport projects, moving more Whitehall departments up north and giving councils more revenue and more control over what it spends its money on.

The long-promised white paper on the government’s levelling up agenda has been continually delayed with some of the newer cohort of Conservative MPs, many in Red Wall seats, urging Mr Gove to detail the plans.

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Mayor Jones said while the government had given or planned to give the council ‘small but welcome sums’ for levelling up projects, she said Whitehall needed to go further and detail a proper funding proposal for levelling up to truly take form in northern England.

She added that Doncaster was often at a disadvantage and could not raise big sums of money through council tax as 87 per cent of homes in the borough were in Band A.

“It can’t come soon enough, I’d like to see true levelling up for the whole of Doncaster and the north of England and that is with proper public funding,” Mayor Jones said.

“We’ve lost £119 million pounds per annum (since 2010) – when you keep having these small sums, but welcome sums for some capital schemes that’s good but the major thing we need is our revenue funding also, that actually delivers all the services to businesses and residents within our borough.

“True leveling up will be ministers declaring that we’re going to get a new hospital, which should be fit for the 21st century and deliver all the services that our residents require.

“I keep saying this but we need proper funding for local government to deliver the services we all know we need.

“Our social care services are rising all the time and we need the funding in order to deliver for our residents.

“Whatever council tax increase we put in, it doesn’t bring in the great sums of money, compared to many other areas in the south.”