Govt lists towns set to benefit from connectivity funding

Govt lists towns set to benefit from connectivity funding

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The government has published a list of the initial 100 towns set to benefit from a raft of new funding designed to help them improve their infrastructure and technology connectivity.

A new £3.6 billion Towns Fund was first announced back in July, with ministers saying it would help a selection of locations in Britain "get the improved transport and broadband that they need" to put them on a more level playing field with other parts of the country.

Now, the names of the lucky places have been revealed, with Blackpool, Carlisle, Dudley, Grimsby, Ipswich, Milton Keynes, Oldham and Truro just a few of those making the final cut.

Making the announcement, local government secretary Robert Jenrick said the locations were chosen because they have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.

"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," he added.

The government will now publish a prospectus to guide towns through the process of applying for funding, with communities having a say on how the money is spent.

Communities themselves, together with local businesses and representatives, will be asked to join forces to draw up plans they want to see transform their local area.

There have not yet been any details as to how broadband's share of the money will be spent, as other projects will of course be receiving their own slices of the finite funding.

Indeed, some places may deem other issues more deserving of an influx of cash, perhaps including those that have been suffering with pothole-strewn roads or poor public transport, for instance.

But with prime minister Boris Johnson having pledged to have "fantastic full fibre broadband sprouting in every household" by 2025 - and average coverage currently sitting at less than ten per cent - the government may be keen to get the chosen locations coming up with ideas on internet improvements.

 

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