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Covid-19: Regional Economic Disparities

Volume 688: debated on Tuesday 26 January 2021

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on regional economic disparities. (911365)

The Government recognise the significant impact of covid-19 on every region and nation of the UK. I can assure hon. Members across the House that levelling up remains a key priority for the Government. That is why the spending review also announced longer-term measures to support every region and nation, including a new £4 billion levelling-up fund to invest in local infrastructure priorities.

It is good to hear that the Government are still committed to levelling up, but all the academic studies that have been done have shown that covid has disproportionately affected the regional economies, with Greater Manchester the third most badly affected region in the country. Those regions need more support, but Transport for the North and Northern Powerhouse Rail are being cut; is that not going in exactly the opposite direction?

I would dispute the hon. Gentleman’s claims. We have taken unprecedented steps to support people and businesses around the country. We have supported 19,100 jobs in his constituency through the coronavirus job retention scheme. Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been allocated £54.2 million from the Getting Building fund for a wide-ranging package of projects. We have also provided over £170 million for the Greater Manchester-Preston city region and Liverpool city region to improve public transport. We have also supported the regeneration of 33 towns in the north-west through the towns fund. There is a lot that is happening on levelling up. If he would like me to write to him to explain everything that we have done in his region, I am happy to do so.