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Long-term Plan for Towns

Volume 742: debated on Monday 18 December 2023

In September 2023, the Prime Minister announced the long-term plan for towns, providing up to £20 million of “endowment-style” funding and support for 55 towns across Great Britain.

Today, my Department has published guidance that provides further information regarding the town board and development of the long-term plan. In addition to the guidance is a policy toolkit which sets out the powers available to towns, and a list of policy interventions with an already agreed case for investment. Boards should consider this toolkit when developing their long-term plan. We will release a dedicated Scottish and Welsh version of the policy toolkit early in 2024.

All town boards should be established by 1 April 2024 at the latest, or, wherever possible, sooner. Where a town already has an appropriate structure in place, we would encourage local authorities to utilise that forum to act as the town board. It is also a requirement that Members of Parliament whose constituencies fall within the boundary of a town sit on the town board, and an independent chair of the board should be appointed.

The long-term plan must be submitted to my Department by 1 August 2024 or sooner. The guidance published today sets out our expectations as to what should be covered in the plan. Each benefiting local authority will also shortly receive £50,000 of capacity funding to support the appointment of a chair for the town board and begin community engagement. A further release of £200,000 of capacity funding will be released on 1 April 2024, once boards are in place.

This publication is another important step in our mission to level up the United Kingdom. We are putting power with local people at the heart of communities; equipping our towns to unlock new opportunities and respond to future change.