LEIGH MP Jo Platt called for a debate in Parliament on the recent allocation of funding for towns and high streets yesterday, Thursday.

All of the towns within her constituency were not included in the first recipients of Government's £1.6bn Stronger Towns Fund and £1bn Future High Streets Fund.

Jo Platt asked the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, for a debate to discuss the criteria used to determine which towns would be allocated this funding and why Leigh’s towns were not selected.

The Government said the Stronger Towns Fund would be allocated based on factors including income deprivation, skills, productivity, EU exit exposure, economic shocks, investment opportunities, and policy alignment.

The MP believes these criteria should have selected her constituency as a recipient.

Leigh Journal:

Jo Platt during the debate yesterday, Thursday

In Parliament, she said: "Following the devastating impact of austerity, my constituency of Leigh has been starved of the investment that we need to unlock the potential of our towns.

"We are without any rail connectivity and we now find ourselves at the bottom of social mobility rankings, but, incredibly, this Government have chosen not to award us any stronger towns funding or future high streets funding.

"Can we therefore have a debate on the allocation of this crucial funding to ensure that it has been fairly allocated, based purely on need?"

Leigh Journal:

House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg

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In response to the MP's question, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "The allocation of funding is always done properly and there are very tight regulations to ensure that, so I can assure the Honourable Lady that everything was done with propriety.

"However, I encourage her to keep on arguing for facilities and funding for her town because that is what we are here to do as constituency MPs.

"We are here to argue the case for our areas, and I am sure that she will continue to do so."

The Leigh MP has also launched a petition to restore rail connectivity to her constituency which has already been signed by thousands of residents.

Speaking after the session in Parliament Ms Platt said: “Our towns are brilliant places to live and raise a family, but we have been let down by a lack of investment and infrastructure to unlock our potential.

“Our incredible community deserves the helping hand that other areas of the country have enjoyed for too long, and our high streets need the care and investment to restore them as the hub of our towns that they used to be.

“We have been let down by Whitehall for too long and nothing exemplifies this more than the fact we are this year marking the 50th anniversary of the closure of our rail station which cuts our community off from the economic success enjoyed in nearby cities and the inward investment we need to thrive.

“The Government has serious questions to answer about why Leigh has not been selected for this funding and I will be seeking urgent clarification that this fund was allocated fairly and purely on the basis of need.”

The Government has explained how the places for the Stronger Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund has been allocated.

For the Future High Streets, 50 high streets were announced on July 5 and a further 50 on August 26.

In relation to the Stronger Towns Fund, MP Jake Berry said: "As part of the process of identifying the initial 100 places, towns have been chosen on the basis of a robust selection methodology.

"This took into account various qualitative and quantitative indicators including income deprivation, skills, productivity, EU exit exposure, economic shocks, investment opportunities, and policy alignment.

"As the development of Town Deal proposals is a live process it would not be appropriate for the Department to publish individual scores."