BORIS Johnson yesterday promised a £3.6billion windfall to revitalise scores of rundown towns and cities.
The new PM pledged cash for improved transport, housing and leisure facilities to reverse decades of decline and neglect.
Boris Johnson has announced a £3.6billion cash boost that will revitalise rundown cities and towns across the UK[/caption]
Up to 100 forgotten towns will get a share of the fund under a drive to unite and “level up” the country.
Bozza — in hard hat and builders’ jacket — unveiled his plan in a brazen pitch to Labour’s disaffected Leave- voting heartlands.
He vowed to create a new “golden age” for Britain and declared: “We’re going to put proper money into places that need it.”
He outlined a four-point plan — to improve living conditions, boost transport links, drive up cultural activities and give more power to local people.
In a keynote speech, the PM admitted the 2016 referendum result had been as much about taking back control from Westminster as the EU.
‘LEVEL UP’ THE UK
He said mayors in cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham should be handed the same powers as in London.
Too many towns had been “left behind” by the failure of politicians, he added — and he was going to put it right.
We are going to put proper money into places that need it.
Speaking in Manchester, Mr Johnson said: “This is not and never has been a city for negativity or navel-gazing. But just a few miles away from here the story is very different.
“Towns with famous names, proud histories, fine civic buildings where, unfortunately, the stereotypical story of the last few decades has been long-term decline — endemic health problems, generational unemployment and down-at-heel high streets.
“The story has been, for young people growing up there, of hopelessness, or the hope that one day they’ll get out and never come back.”
He added: “It certainly isn’t the fault of the people growing up there. They haven’t failed. No, it is we the politicians who have failed.
“Time and again they have voted for change but for too long politicians have failed to deliver on what is needed.
The Prime Minister visited Manchester’s tram line site before promising to ‘turbo charge’ the North with a new rail link[/caption]
In his keynote speech, Mr Johnson said the 2016 referendum result had been as much about taking back control from Westminster as the EU[/caption]
A vicious cycle
THE housing crisis is having a damaging impact on British business, a report warns.
Firms who employ workers struggling to afford a home have reported a fall in output.
Nearly half of bosses say such issues have had an adverse impact on wellbeing, says the Centre for Social Justice. Staff are caught in a “vicious cycle” caused by living in unstable conditions, paying high rents or long commutes each day.
The study calls on the Government to set up a new Employer Housing unit to encourage firms to provide not-for-profit homes.
CSJ chief Andy Cook said: “We need more innovative support.”
“Our plan now for this new government I am leading is to unite our country and level up.”
Standing in front of legendary steam loco Stephenson’s Rocket at Manchester Science and Industry Museum, he also announced £3billion boost for Northern rail links with a new trans-Pennine line between Manchester and Leeds.
But he insisted this was just the beginning of a massive overhaul. His £3.6billion Towns Fund will provide transformed bus and rail services and improved broadband connectivity for 100 communities.
Time and again people have voted for change but for too long politicians have failed to deliver on what is needed.
It will mean services within cities — not just between cities — and those which do not stop at the end of the working day.
The lucky towns will be re-energised with libraries, art and youth centres and parks. Mr Johnson also promised to give local people more say over their destinies, adding: “We are going to level up the powers offered to mayors.
“We are going to give more say over changes to transport, housing, public services and infrastructure.”
He said Brexit was a chance for Britain to change direction and claimed the public wanted him to “get on with” cutting EU ties, with or without a deal.
‘A NEW GOLDEN AGE’
Boris, who has also vowed to recruit 20,000 extra police officers, insisted his spending commitments were “pretty reasonable” rather than unaffordable.
Manchester’s Labour mayor Andy Burnham reacted to Mr Johnson’s announcement by saying it “feels like” an election is imminent.
The PM pledged a wider rail scheme that would extend high-speed links to Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield — saying the return on investment for the country would be “colossal”.
Before his speech, Mr Johnson wore hard hat and safety boots at the site of the new Trafford Park tram line.
His Towns Fund goes much further than ex-PM Theresa May’s £1.6billion regeneration fund. She offered the cash to win over Labour MPs to her Brexit deal.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
But BoJo wants to charm voters turned off by Jeremy Corbyn’s flip-flopping over Brexit. He said his plan was to provide “the basic ingredients of success for the UK and the places we call home”.
He concluded: “I don’t blame the doubters and the sceptics. It’s a natural human instinct, but time and again, they have been proved wrong.
“I think they will be proved wrong again. If we can unite our country with better education, better infrastructure, with an emphasis on new technology, this really can be a new golden age.”
Tory MP Nadine Dorries appointed as junior health minister
TORY MP Nadine Dorries, ex-star of TV’s I’m a Celebrity has been appointed a junior health minsiter by Boris Johnson.
The former nurse is a leading Brexiteer and has been a vocal cheerleader for the new PM.
She is joined on the front benches by Zac Goldsmith, who becomes a minister working across two departments – the Environment and International Development.
The promtion of a respected green campaigner indicates that Mr Johnson wants a more dynamic approach to tackling climate change.
Mr Johnson insists his spending commitments are ‘pretty reasonable’ rather than unaffordable and that his plans are ‘the basic ingredients of success for the UK’[/caption]
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