A £3.6 billion Towns Fund has been unveiled, set up to help support towns around the UK build prosperous futures, working alongside the government to develop innovative generation plans with a focus on broadband connectivity, improved transport, skills and culture.
In all, 100 places have been invited to develop proposals for a new generation of multi-million pound deals, including towns that have proud economic and industrial heritage but haven’t always benefited from growth in the same way that other more prosperous parts of the country have.
The announcement comes after the prime minister confirmed in July that an extra £1.325 billion would be made available to support towns as part of plans to level up different regions. A prospectus to guide towns through the process will soon be published, with eligibility criteria set for funding.
Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government.
“We want to level up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.”
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and local growth Jake Berry made further comments, saying that five years after the Northern Powerhouse was launched, the government is now reaffirming its commitment to those living in the north, giving them the support they need to be at the “leading edge of a confident, global Britain when we leave the EU on 31st October”.
Connectivity is vital for doing successful business these days, so this is surely to be good news for companies of all shapes and sizes around the country. The Harvard Business Review recently ranked 42 countries around the world for their ease of doing digital business, comparing them using seven key metrics.
The good news is that of the 42 countries ranked, the US and the UK came out on top – so it’s great to know that businesses in this country are already making excellent use of digital platforms.
But digital businesses also face different challenges, including access, adequate bandwidth, internet censorship, evolving regulatory landscapes, unique competition and unique resistance.
As such, knowing that issues with broadband connectivity and reach is something that the government is addressing must be comforting for businesses, especially given the fact that Brexit is on the horizon and so much uncertainty around this still exists.
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