WORCESTER’S MP Robin Walker has welcomed the Government’s decision to name the city as one of the top priority areas to benefit from a £4.8billion fund.
Robin Walker spoke out after Chancellor Rishi Sunak named Worcester as one of 45 areas to benefit from the cash as the country seeks to recover from the pandemic.
The fund will focus on capital investment in local infrastructure and will build on prior programmes such as the Future High Streets Fund which Worcester is benefitting by £18m from and the Towns Fund bid which has the opportunity to transform Worcester.
The list of places receiving money from the Towns Fund is dominated by the north west, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
But the majority of towns which will receive a share of the fund are represented by Tory MPs.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused ministers of favouring Conservative areas for funding and said the regeneration money announced ‘looks fishy’ because the large majority are represented by Tory MPs.
However, Mr Walker said: “This news is a further commitment to Worcester by our government and demonstrates a real desire to level up opportunities to areas like ours.
“I lobbied hard for us to be included in the Future High Streets Fund and I was delighted when we were allocated £18m for our City Centre in December last year.
“That funding will allow Worcester City Council to purchase and redevelop sites for cultural, commercial and residential use.
“In particular it will enable the reopening of the long-neglected Scala theatre – providing Worcester with a major cultural boost and allowing for the Worcester Live theatre group to move from their site at the Swan to a better connected city centre location.
“I have also worked with the Towns Fund Board to ensure the Town Improvement Plan is exciting and ambitious and I was delighted when this was submitted last month.
“It is possible we will benefit from a £28m cash injection from government, matched by funding from Worcester City Council that has the potential to transform our city.
“I now look forward to working with my colleagues in government and Worcester City Council to ensure we see the maximum possible impact from the Levelling Up Fund.”