The Government has announced that Erdington High Street will not receive any funding under the first tranche of Levelling Up Fund bids. The news comes as a bitter blow for Erdington, and the local MP, Jack Dromey, has described the decision as “outrageous and inexplicable”.
The Erdington bid, which was submitted by Birmingham City Council and drafted in conjunction with key local stakeholders and the local community, contained £43m of private investment, almost double the amount of the other 3 Birmingham bids combined, meaning it comfortably met the match funding requirement as per the terms of the Fund.
The announcement is the latest snub Erdington has received from Government, after a bid to the Future High Streets Fund was rejected on Boxing Day. It has raised serious questions over the Government’s claims to be committed to ‘levelling up’ if they are willing to deny one of the poorest constituencies in the country of much needed investment.
Following the announcement, Mr Dromey confirmed he will urgently be seeking clarification from Government over the reasons the bid was unsuccessful and reaffirmed his commitment to securing the funding needed to transform Erdington High Street.
Jack Dromey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington, said:
“Once again, the Government has failed to provide the investment Erdington High Street so desperately needs. This decision flies in the face of their ‘levelling up’ rhetoric and badly lets down one of the poorest communities in the country.
“This investment would have provided an invaluable economic, social and cultural boost to our community, as well as providing employment opportunities for Erdington, which has an unemployment rate that stands at twice the national average.
“But this is not the first time Government has let Erdington down. Following the rejection of the Future High Streets Fund bid on Boxing Day, we continued to seek investment in our High Street. Working together with Birmingham City Council, key local stakeholders, and the local community, we submitted this comprehensive and ambitious bid to the Levelling Up Fund complete with a solid business case and significant private investment.
“This makes the decision to deny Erdington of investment once again outrageous and inexplicable.
“But we will not take no for an answer. I will seek urgent clarification from Michael Gove, the Cabinet Minister responsible, and do everything I can to ensure we finally win the funding necessary to give the people of Erdington the High Street they deserve.”