Southport to get the most money from government’s town deals fund

Southport is set to benefit from a staggering £38.5m of government funding aimed at transforming the seaside town.

The money awarded to Southport is one of the largest Town Deals that the government has agreed nationally and across 45 towns.

Only Stevenage in Hertfordshire is set to receive the same amount, while other chosen towns will receive smaller sums.

Southport Town Deal Board says

will create 2,000 new jobs directly as well as attracting many more through further private investors.

The board’s chair, Rob Fletcher, says he believes the town is to receive such a substantial sum is down to the “quality of Southport’s team, the quality of the projects which they submitted and the huge support from local people”.

He said: “This was a massive team effort from everyone involved, both on the board and from Southport residents. We put together a very impressive bid.

“We are delighted. We are very grateful for the support we have had from people in our town for the input which they put into this.

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“The force of that conversation gave us a lot of impetus with the Government.”

Last year, to help communities to build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government released £1million in Acceleration Grant Town Deal funding to Southport so that some work could begin immediately.

The Government allocated a further £37.5million in funding to Southport in the 2021 Spring Budget.

While this is great news for Southport, some of our region’s most deprived towns were left out of the £3.6bn government funding scheme.

Other towns in Merseyside missed out without explanation, despite data indicating they were more in need of the money.

Last year, government officials drew up a priority list of 541 towns based on need and potential for development for ministers to select from.

Officials decided those listed as “high priority” – 40 towns, two of which were Birkenhead and St Helens – must benefit from funding.

A further 61 towns were selected by a group of ministers, led by Robert Jenrick, the Housing and Communities Secretary.

Analysis by The Times found that all but one of them were either Conservative-held seats, or Tory targets before the 2019 election.

Despite being “medium priority”, Merseyside areas like Crosby, Litherland, Bootle, Kirkby, Prescot, Wallasey, Newton-le-Willows and Haydock were not granted any funding.

Southport was listed as “low priority”.

These 101 towns were invited to bid for funding, and 45 were then successful.

Birkenhead and St Helens were two of the towns which missed out.