Joyce Catterick writes
Along with other selected towns, Todmorden is to have money for a Town
Improvement Plan, £17.5 m, a large sum, though less than the £25 m Craig
Whittaker MP promised us before the 2019 election.
Mr Whittaker says this will be ‘levelling up’ Todmorden. No, Mr Whittaker, it will not.
This money, however well distributed, will not make up for 11 years of cuts to local
authority budgets; it will not make up for the failure to improve our railway; it will not
make up for the reductions in help for the elderly and disabled; it will not make up for
the limited investment in well paid jobs with proper career structures which are
abundantly available in the south east; I am sure others can add to my list of how
successive Conservative governments, over the past decade, have at best not cared
about the North, only occasionally handing out sums of money for desperately
needed improvements such as the new building at Todmorden High School.
Apparently, the Town Deal Board still has a lot more work to do, Business Cases to
be drawn up, criteria to be met by Project Leaders – I wish them well, but while we
still have a largely low wage economy, with rising travel costs, heating prices rising,
food at least 5% up, national insurance stamps going up, Todmorden, and many,
many other northern towns will not be ‘levelling up’, not even ‘catching up’.
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