East London councils call for share of government funding

Cllr Darren Rodwell chairs the Local London group. Picture: Ken Mears

Cllr Darren Rodwell chairs the Local London group. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A group of London councils has called on the government not to ignore deprivation and poverty in east London as it distributes a fund designed to help tackle inequality.

The Local London partnership - which includes Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering as well as four other outer London councils - wrote to Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local govermnent to make its case for receiving financial support.

The government has vowed to replace EU funding - of which around £1 billion would have been allocated to the region - with a new domestic pot called the UK shared prosperity fund.

However, the group says it is unclear who will benefit and has warned of the area being left out in favour of more northern areas that are also deprived.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, who chairs Local London as well as being leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to a UK shared prosperity fund to replace European funding, and its ambition to ‘level up’ poorer areas of the UK like the so-called red wall seats in the north and Midlands, but we have been concerned for some time that government debates and conversations about ‘levelling up’ ignore the challenges that London, and specifically east London, faces.

“Many residents and businesses in this part of London have not benefited from the full advantages of living and operating in the capital city, and whilst we are working to remedy that with an ambitious levelling-up agenda of our own, funding from central government under the UKSPF is much needed and would play a huge role in unlocking our potential and enabling our goal of levelling up.”

A spokesperson for the ministry of housing, communities and local goverment said: “We’re committed to creating a UK shared prosperity fund that binds together the whole of the UK while tackling inequality and deprivation.

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“We’ll target the fund at the UK’s specific needs, driven by domestic priorities and with a focus on investing in people. We’ll also match the current levels of EU structural funding received in each nation of the UK.

“The government has been working closely with interested parties across the UK whilst developing the fund. We will set out further details on the UK shared prosperity fund following the spending review.”