Tom calls for more support for left behind communities
Tom Hunt raises Ipswich’s Bridge Ward in Parliament as he calls for more support for left behind communities
Yesterday (04/03/20) Hunt met with representatives of the Local Trust to discuss Bridge Ward in his constituency. The meeting followed new research from the Local Trust which found that Bridge is one of the 206 most left behind wards in the country.
To indetify ‘left behind’ areas, the Local Trust looked not only at economic indicators but social factors as well. These include connectivity, how active the local community is and the number of places where the community can meet and socialise.
Following the meeting, Hunt set out in the House of Commons what this means in terms of people’s health in Bridge. In Bridge, healthy life expectancy at birth is around 5 years lower than the national average and deaths from cancer are over 25% higher than the national average. Long-term illnesses for those aged over 65 are also 10% above the national average.
To address this, Hunt called on the Government to create a £2 billion Community Wealth Fund to be targeted specifically at areas like Bridge. The Fund would redirect existing money, currently sitting dormant in assets like bonds and shares, to the most deprived communities over a 10 to 15-year period. The money would be targeted locally, with local residents taking the lead on how the money is spent.
Hunt has resolved to work with Local Trust and other MPs to move these plans forward. And he has pledged to support to a new All Party Parliamentary Group on left behind neighbourhoods which will develop detailed proposals to take to Government.
Following his intervention, Tom said:
“I have spent a great deal of time in Bridge and I’ve shared many positive conversations with residents there, but there is a sense that the area is not fulfilling its full potential. New research from the Local Trust has also highlighted that Bridge has been left behind.
“A lot has now been said about levelling up the country but now it’s to time get on and do it. That’s why I’ve called on the Government to create a Community Wealth Fund which will target investment specifically in areas like Bridge. Crucially as part of the plans, residents would be at the heart of the decision making process when it comes to how the extra money is spent.
“It’s vital that we focus our energies on places which haven’t had enough support in the past and empower local residents to have a voice on the future of their communities. I’ll be working hand-in-hand with the Local Trust and other Members of Parliament over the coming months to see this happen.”