Government announce £1.6 billion fund to include town deals

​It was announced in Prime Ministers Questions today that the government will create a fund for £1.6 billion that will include town deals. The announcement, part of the government’s commitment to town regeneration is one that the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership under the umbrella of Business in the Community, welcomes wholeheartedly.
Blackpool has successfully attracted interest from the private sector to supercharge its tourism offer and in December announced a £300 million project to create a new entertainment complex; Blackpool Central.
There is already a vision for Blackpool, laid out in its prospectus, for a thriving coastal community in 2030.
The leadership and motivation to achieve this is already in place and a town deal is a unique opportunity to secure the resources neeed to achieve this.
In order to realise these aims significant enabling investment is needed, combined with strategic and continued support from government in three key areas:
  1. Funding and legislation to solve Blackpool’s systemic housing issues where benefit payments are funding poor quality, multiple occupancy, private rented accommodation and undermining community cohesion. 
  2. A commitment to raise educational standards and aspirations in Blackpool’s struggling secondary schools with investment in leadership and commensurate per pupil funding.
  3. To continue the regeneration of the town centre including consolidating civil service jobs into a hub with a digital centre of excellence and an expanded university presence.
The Partnership is confident that with government support in the form of a town deal, we can achieve all of these aspirations and more.
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive Business in the Community, said: “A local community has to thrive for any business to succeed so we welcome this announcement. We will work across the scale of our membership in partnership with local government and the community to ensure any investment is as impactful as possible.
“We want Blackpool to be a town where people of all ages choose to live, work, thrive and build their futures. The Blackpool town prospectus is an invitation to national Government to work together with the partnership to address long-term embedded challenges and take advantage of opportunities. These plans are compatible with the civil society strategy and the industrial strategy, making Blackpool a strong contender to be the second Town Deal.”
Christine Hodgson Chairman of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership Board commented: “We are delighted that Government has recognised the opportunity to invest in our local communities and to accelerate the existing regeneration that’s already taking place. Blackpool has so much to offer to both residents and visitors and a town deal will be the catalyst Blackpool needs to continue this transformation.”
Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Borough Council added: “Every day I see people from Blackpool working innovatively and passionately to make the town a better place to live and work. This sort of concrete support from Government is exactly what the town needs to continue its regeneration and give people who are already working hard towards it, the resources they need.”
Jed Sullivan Chair of Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde, Council for Voluntary Services said: “Blackpool has well-publicised social and economic problems, which local people see here every day. This funding will help boost the great work that’s already been done by many voluntary sector organisations across the town.”
Notes to editor
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About Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership
The Blackpool PoP is a group of people from the business, third and public sectors who have come together to promote economic development and tackle the area’s social challenges. We aim to support the town to prosper, at the same time as reducing vulnerability and demand on what is already an overstretched public sector. Whilst the primary focus is Blackpool, we aim to have a halo effect along the Fylde coast and for the whole area to feel involved.

The partnership has been created under the umbrella of Business in the Community (a national business membership organisation which encourages responsible business) as the blueprint for a new approach to working with communities to determine sustainable and positive futures.

Christine Hodgson is chairman of Capgemini and a board member of Business in the Community. All local and national board members are listed in the Prospectus

About Business in the Community
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart.
We use our Responsible Business Map to guide members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. From community engagement to employment, diversity and the circular economy, we offer expert advice and specialist resources, driving best practice by convening, sharing learning and recognising great performance across our influential network.