The Government are committed to giving communities across the United Kingdom, including Clacton, real power and investment to drive growth and unleash their full potential. I am pleased that Clacton has progressed to the business case development stage of the £1 billion future high streets fund and will be bidding for capital funding shortly. The South East local enterprise partnership, which covers Clacton, has received £590 million through the local growth fund to drive regional development.
I thank my hon. Friend for his answer, but I recently asked Cabinet Office Ministers not to overlook coastal communities in the south as we seek to level up between the north and the south. Levelling up is a laudable aim, but we should not overlook places such as Clacton, which, as is well known, has pockets of extreme deprivation. We need real and lasting support there. Can my hon. Friend assure me that the Government’s support for local growth in my area will be the norm rather than a passing fad?
I can certainly provide that reassurance. I have vivid memories of the Clacton by-election, when I first met my hon. Friend: I get all the best days out!
The Government are committed to levelling up all regions of our country. I speak as a proud north-easterner, but I am very conscious that deprivation is not limited to the north or to the midlands. It is clearly found in pockets throughout the country. I can absolutely reassure my hon. Friend that wherever those characteristics exist, we will be there to act.