Sheffield to be among first areas to benefit from levelling up regeneration cash

Sheffield will be one of the first areas to benefit from a new policy as part of Government’s levelling up agenda, it has been announced.

The Yorkshire city, alongside Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, will be the first of 20 areas selected to benefit from a “radical new regeneration programme”.

The programme, from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, will “breathe fresh life into disadvantaged communities across England, Ministers say.

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The long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper, which will set out more detail on the Government’s flagship election promise, is now expected this week, having faced several setbacks before now.

Lisa Nandy speaking at Labour Party conference in September 2021

However, Labour have accused the Government of “lacking in ambition for our places and our people”.

The £1.5bn will be made available from April 2022, and is made up of funds promised at the last Budget.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are on a mission to regenerate the nation, transforming derelict areas in our towns and cities into thriving places people are proud to live and work in.

“We are refocusing Homes England and empowering local leaders to support levelling up, delivering Kings Cross style transformational regeneration projects across the country – starting in Wolverhampton and Sheffield.

“This huge investment in infrastructure and regeneration will spread opportunity more evenly and help to reverse the geographical inequalities which still exist in the UK.”

Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy accused the plans of lacking in ambition and a proposal that “misses the point” of what levelling up should be when people “need money back in their pockets”.

She told the BBC: “This is recycled money - a bit of a refund in a few places on the money that we’ve already lost- and it just completely misses the point. People need money back in their pockets. We need good jobs and wages.

“There are parts of the country where that is being realised, investment in renewables, which cuts energy bills, it gets money back into people’s pockets, it creates apprenticeships.

“This is about giving the places that within living memory once powered this country the chance to make a contribution again. We demand and we deserve that level of investment from our Government. We’ve got ambition for our people and our places, but why hasn’t the Government?”