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Core Cities: Economic Regeneration

Volume 627: debated on Monday 17 July 2017

All Core Cities have benefited from city deals. Areas covering five Core Cities, including Bristol, have also agreed devolution deals, which provide funding powers and support economic growth for regeneration.

The Core Cities are responsible not just for 19 million people and a quarter of the UK’s economy but for 29% of our trade exports, yet the Department for Exiting the European Union has not made any approach to the Core Cities to discuss how they can be represented during the Brexit negotiations. Will the Minister have words with his colleagues in that Department and tell them that they really ought to be talking to our cities?

Looking at the list of Core Cities, I have lived in two and worked in one, so I know a bit about them. All I can say is that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union has written to all Core Cities that have a mayor to say that he will meet them over the summer.

We should be proud of the funding for our Core Cities, particularly through the devolution deals, but regeneration in the north also relies on the funding of our non-Core Cities. An important part of that for communities such as Hull has been coastal communities funding. Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government remain committed to coastal communities funding?

I can confirm to my hon. Friend that we will of course deliver on our general election manifesto pledge to extend coastal communities funding. I also wish to take the opportunity to thank him for the work he did when he was doing this job; I am all too aware that I am walking in the shoes of a giant.

Devolution, as promoted by the former Chancellor and former Prime Minister, is no doubt dead in the water. Few real powers have been devolved and even less fiscal devolution has taken place. The only constant theme is the year-on-year cuts passed down to our local government base—the very base that should be the foundation on which devolution is built. When will Ministers bring forward a meaningful plan for devolution? When will they address the Treasury push for continued cuts to our local government base?

Devolution has been one of the great successes of this Government and I have been delighted to welcome Conservative colleagues as our new metro mayors, from James Palmer in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Ben Houchen in the Tees Valley and of course Andy Street in the West Midlands, to Tim Bowles in the West of England. The Labour party talked about devolution for years, but what did Labour do? Absolutely nothing. We are getting on with devolution and we are delivering for every region of this country.

I welcome the Minister’s announcement about the coastal communities fund a moment ago. He will be aware that a major regeneration scheme is being developed by North East Lincolnshire Council, about which I wrote to the Secretary of State a couple of weeks ago. Will the Minister agree to meet me and other representatives from the area so that we can move this forward very quickly?