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£3.6 billion Towns Fund to support 'forgotten' towns and boost buses

30 July 2019

The Prime Minister has announced a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns in England. He also reaffirmed his commitment to begin discussions with the Devolved Administrations around how to better support towns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and make sure areas throughout the United Kingdom ‘can thrive and enjoy a prosperous future outside of the EU’. The Prime Minister also announced the expansion of Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, backed by £300 million of new funding.

The Prime Minister said: 'We’re going to have a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns. So that they will get the improved transport and improved broadband connectivity that they need.They’ll also get help with that vital social and cultural infrastructure, from libraries and art centres to parks and youth services: the institutions that bring communities together, and give places new energy and new life.

'Finally, of course, there is an even more radical shift that we need to make now to deliver this and I have seen myself the changes that you can bring about in towns and cities and regions, when local people have more of a say over their own destinies.'

The PM also pledged to 'begin, as a matter of urgency, the transformation of local bus services – starting in Manchester. He siad: 'I will work with the Mayor of Greater Manchester on his plans to deliver a London style bus system in the area under powers we gave to him in the Bus Services Act.

'I want higher frequency, low-emission or zero-emission buses, more bus priority corridors, a network that’s easier to understand and use.

'I want local partnerships between the private sector, which operates the buses, and a public body, which coordinates them. In London – where they have all these things – bus passenger journeys have risen by 97 per cent in 25 years. In other metropolitan areas – where they do not – it has fallen by 34 per cent over the same period.'

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