Unemployment in the West Midlands has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, Tory Mayor Andy Street has failed to secure a staggering 95% of the money needed from central Government to help keep the region working.
Liam Byrne MP, Shadow West Midlands Mayor, revealed the staggering shortfall in the House of Commons today.
The shocking figures come from a previously secret briefing report extracted from the Mayor by Cllr Lisa Trickett, the Chair of the Combined Authority’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
The report revealed only 5.4% of the £3.2 billion recovery plan has been awarded to the region.
Liam Byrne MP, the Shadow Mayor of the region confronted Treasury ministers with the facts in the House of Commons today, saying:
‘We have over a million people who are unemployed, on furlough, or self-employment support. We urgently need a kickstart to get the economy back on the move. Yet we now learn our Mayor has failed to secure 95% of what the region agreed was mission critical to keep the region working.
‘Once again, the West Midlands is being let down and left behind. The Government’s mishandling of this crisis is now leaving us without the lifeline we need, risking a pandemic of poverty throughout the winter.’
The Recovery Plan was submitted to Government in June after pressure from Liam Byrne MP who demanded ministers produce a blueprint to keep the region working.
At the time, the Mayor said, “The Government can demonstrate its commitment to the levelling-up agenda by backing this blueprint and continuing to invest in the West Midlands.”
But the briefing reveals:
- 99% of the £550 million budget to ’Get People back to work’ has not been granted
- Just £1.5m has been received to back the region’s businesses in response to a plea for £532 million
- The bid for ‘brownfield sites and new homes’ totalled £694 million - but 86% of the money was not been awarded
- Of the £614 million sought for ‘Green Manufacturing,’ only 2.3% of the ask has been granted.
- Over 90% of the bid for ‘Investing in Healthcare’ ask of £137 million has not been granted
1. The orginal WMCA press release can be found here https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/32-billion-blueprint-unveiled-to-kickstart-...