BRITAIN’s poorest communities say they are barely “surviving” and have begged Boris Johnson not to forget them after Brexit.
Cash-strapped voters in Leave areas are urging the Prime Minister to look outside of London and inject cash into the country’s struggling towns.
In a devastating report, one woman described her high street in the West Midlands as “horrific” while another, who lived in the North, admitted to barely making ends meet.
The woman said life was a daily struggle, explaining she was “just hanging on, like with your money and everything. You know, when you just survive.”
Transport links, high-paying jobs and a boost for the high street were all priorities for normal Brits living outside of the London, in a report written by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the UK in a Changing Europe.
The research also suggested that many did not expect things to get better when Britain leaves the EU on October 31.
One woman in Middlesbrough said: “We haven’t got the attention before Brexit; I don’t know if we’ll get it after.”
The pleas come as Boris promised a £3.6billion windfall to revitalise scores of rundown towns and cities in the wake of Brexit.
FED UP WITH WESTMINSTER
Simon Greave, the Labour leader in Bassetlaw, Notts, one of the communities the report focused on, said people were “fed up” and “beyond frustrated” with Westminster’s dilly-dallying over Brexit.
The local Labour boss said people in his town wanted the whistle blown on “game-playing” with Brussels so Britain’s big domestic issues could be tackled.
He said: “People knew what they were voting for.
“The fact that some decision makers don’t want to listen is a Westminster problem, not one created by local people in Worksop.
This stuff isn’t rocket science. People don’t want hand outs, we want the opportunities we are entitled to, with the chance of better paid more secure jobs for themselves and their children
“The fact is that in Worksop (compared to many areas) crime is lower, deprivation is lower and unemployment is lower.
“Comparisons like this mean nothing though when you’re working all hours to make ends meet, without access to affordable childcare and support for your family.
“This stuff isn’t rocket science.
“People don’t want hand outs, we want the opportunities we are entitled to, with the chance of better paid more secure jobs for themselves and their children.”
SMALL TOWNS BATTLEGROUND
Both the Tories and Labour have highlighted that small towns will be the battleground for the next election.
Boris promised a substantial cash splurge on the campaign trail last week and Labour hired an award-winning director to make a three-minute film to show its commitment to small towns, last year.
But as the country turns to Brexit – many in small towns feel left behind and “disillusioned” with the Westminster machine.
Westminster and the government are London-centric, and the further west, east, north you go, you know, the poorer things are.
Man, Newport, South Wales
They feel like politicians don’t care about areas outside of London and communities that once thrived have been left to fend for themselves.
One man, from Newport, South Wales, said: “Westminster and the government are London-centric, and the further west, east, north you go, you know, the poorer things are.”
Towns close to Britain’s biggest cities were losing out twice, according to the JRF, as they fight both London and their nearest neighbour for investment and funding.
COMPETING WITH THE CAPITAL
A woman from Bolton, a town 10 miles from Manchester, which voted 58 per cent to Leave, said: “I think what we could call traditional working class areas, they’re declined to the benefit of richer areas where people want to invest money – rather than actually investing it areas where it would make a difference to local life.”
Another woman from Middlesbrough, a city where 65 per cent voted Leave, said: “There was money invested there in Canary Wharf and everything but all that seems to have gone there, we’ve been sort of left in this area.”
While big businesses flock to Britain’s cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham – small cities and towns are left to pick off the scraps.
“It’s all low paid jobs, so to be able to bring up the area in general, we need people with higher paid jobs,” she said.
“They need to be more companies to be brought in that aren’t just distribution centres so we need incentives.”
MOST READ IN POLITICS
Johnson has promised to inject cash for improved transport, housing and leisure facilities to reverse decades of decline and neglect in Britain’s towns.
Up to 100 forgotten towns will get a share of the fund under a drive to unite and “level up” the country.
He vowed to create a new “golden age” for Britain and declared: “We’re going to put proper money into places that need it.”
The Prime Minister BoJo outlined his four-point plan to breathe new life into broken down communities on the campaign trail last week[/caption]
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