GREENOCK has been chosen for a £20 million investment from the UK Government.
The funding has been awarded to help improve Greenock town centre and boost regeneration.
Seven Scottish towns will each receive £20milllion from the UK Government as part of a long-term investment plan for places that have been “overlooked and taken for granted”. The other towns are Clydebank, Coatbridge, Dumfries, Elgin, Irvine and Kilmarnock.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council and co-chair of Inverclyde Socio-Economic Taskforce, said: “Funding like this is crucial to allow us, as a council, to regenerate Greenock town centre and help improve opportunities for Inverclyde.
“The Inverclyde Socio-Economic task force was established to explore opportunities for investment and I’m pleased our collective voice has been listened to by the UK Government and we now have an opportunity to build upon the existing £20million Levelling Up funding to breathe new life into Greenock town centre.
“Promoting Greenock and Inverclyde as a great place to live, work, visit and do business is vital to the ongoing success of the area and this funding will help us to deliver meaningful improvements for the benefit of residents and businesses, allowing them to help us shape the priorities for the area.”
Fifty-five towns across the UK have been allocated funding according to the Levelling Up Needs Index which takes into account skills, pay, productivity and health, as well as the Index of Multiple Deprivation to ensure funding goes directly to areas which will benefit most.
The money will be provided directly by the UK Government to the relevant local authority.
Under a new approach, local people will be put in charge, and given the tools to change their town’s long-term future. They will:
· Receive a ten-year endowment-style fund to be spent on local people’s priorities, like regenerating local high streets and town centres or securing public safety.
· Set up a Town Board to bring together community leaders, employers and local authorities to deliver the long-term plan for their town and put it to local people for consultation.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Towns are the place most of us call home and where most of us go to work. But politicians have always taken towns for granted and focused on cities.
“The result is the half-empty high streets, run-down shopping centres and anti-social behaviour that undermine many towns’ prosperity and hold back people’s opportunity –- and without a new approach, these problems will only get worse.
“That changes today. Our Long-Term Plan for Towns puts funding in the hands of local people themselves to invest in line with their priorities, over the long-term. That is how we level up.”
Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove said: “We know that in our towns the values of hard work and solidarity, common sense and common purpose, endeavour and quiet patriotism have endured across generations. But for too long, too many of our great British towns have been overlooked and undervalued.
“We are putting this right through our Long-Term Plan for Towns backed by over £1bnillion of levelling up funding.
“This will empower communities in every part of the UK to take back control of their future, taking long-term decisions in the interests of local people. It will mean more jobs, more opportunities and a brighter future for our towns and the people who live and work in them.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the launch of the UK Government’s Long Term Plan for Towns. It’s great to see that seven Scottish towns will benefit from £20million each from the latest round of levelling up funding which so far has seen us invest more than £2.4billion right across Scotland to help grow our economy and level up the country.
The Long-Term Plan for Towns will require town boards to develop their own long-term plan for their town, with funding over 10 years.
Money will be aligned to the issues that research shows people want the most, such as improving transport and connections to make travel easier for residents and increase visitor numbers in centres to boost opportunities for small businesses and create jobs.
Local people will be at the heart of decisions, through direct membership of a new Town Board, which will include community groups, MPs, businesses, cultural and sports organisations, public sector agencies and local authorities for each town and through a requirement to engage local people on the long-term plan for each town.