LabourTowns

Labour towns

Our towns our future

Sign up for more information & to support the work of Labour Towns. Towns are the back bone of Britain, and we want our towns to get a fair deal. That’s why Labour MPs, councillors, party members across the country are coming together to demand an end to the Tory austerity that is widening the divide between towns and cities, and to champion new ideas and plans from Labour councils, councillors and MPs.

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Building on the great work and innovative ideas of local Labour councillors who are finding new ways to regenerate, inspire and strengthen smaller communities.

Find Out Who We Are

We are Labour MPs, Councillors and party members standing up for the 36 million of us who live in towns and villages across the country. Britain’s towns are being hit hard by Tory austerity and there is a growing divide between cities and towns under the Tories that is bad for our whole country.

We are proud of our towns - of our strong communities, unique histories, local skills and industry. Our towns are the backbone of Britain. But we believe towns need a fairer deal and a stronger voice. We want an end to the Tory austerity that is closing our public services and slowing our jobs and business growth. And we want to build a Labour alternative - based on the best new ideas and plans from Labour towns across the country. Labour values mean backing both our cities and our towns together to grow and succeed.

Recent News

New figures show that the big cities are the main winners when it comes to Lottery funding with the former industrial areas missing out.

The dream of a big house, nice car and exotic holidays inspire millions of us to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards each week.

Research carried out nearly a decade ago showed that skilled manual workers are more likely to buy a ticket than managerial and professional workers.

The National Lottery was dubbed ‘a tax on the poor’.

That however, is a fact that we can no longer confirm, even though we suspect it, because we do not know where lottery tickets are bought.

Why does that matter? Because without that vital piece of information, we do not know how much more some customers are putting into the National Lottery than they are getting out of it.

Every year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport publishes how much cash every Parliamentary constituency receives in lottery funding for projects.

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that it is not the poorest areas of the country that receive the most lottery cash.The ten constituencies which receive the most money are always dominated by the UK’s biggest cities; London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol.Meanwhile former coalfield and industrial areas come lagging way behind.

The figures speak for themselves: in 2015, my constituency of Ashfield received about £930,000 of lottery funding, ranking it 362 of 650 constituencies.

Nottingham South, just down the road, got £64.8m the same year, the third highest in the country.

In the same year, Manchester Central received £31.6m of funding, while nearby Wigan got just over £3m, ten times less, but actually a lot more than Barnsley East, which was awarded less than £90,000.

The pattern repeats for examples in many other cities and the former industrial towns lying just a few miles outside them.

This has of course been noticed before.

The Industrial Communities Alliance has published articles on the issue and has found “evidence of systematic bias against certain types of areas and communities” with regards to the distribution of lottery funding.

Their research suggests that industrial areas receive only 60% of the national average funding per head.

It put the cumulative loss of funding to Britain’s industrial communities at around £3bn a few years ago, and this will only have increased since then.

We have asked that Camelot not only publishes data on where lottery tickets and scratch cards are bought, so we can see the differences between this and where lottery funding is given out, but that it also does more to close this gap.

In this age of austerity and cuts, former coalfield and industrial communities need lottery funding more than ever to support projects that could otherwise be at risk of closure.

People in these areas will often feel no benefit of the prestigious lottery funded arts, culture and heritage offerings in nearby cities – some of them have never even visited their nearest city.

It is time the way lottery funding is allocated was changed, so that these areas are no longer disadvantaged and are given the share of the money they deserve.


It is only fair.

* Gloria De Piero is the Labour MP for Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: Funding for the arts and sports is not a lottery. It's a stitch up

New figures show that the big cities are the main winners when it comes to Lottery funding with the former industrial areas missing out. The dream of a big house, nice car and exotic holidays inspire millions of us to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards each week. Research carried out nearly a decade ago showed that skilled manual workers are more likely to buy a ticket than managerial and professional workers.

After a great conference where our towns and the problems they are facing were firmly on the agenda the Labour party has announced 5 brand new policies aimed at rejuvenating our town centres:

  1. Ban ATM charges and stop bank branch and Post Office closures
  2. Improve local bus services and provide free bus travel for under 25s
  3. Deliver free public Wi-Fi in town centres
  4. Establish a register of landlords of empty shops in each local authority
  5. Introduce annual revaluations of business rates, ensure a fair appeals system review the business rates system to bring it into the 21st century

The Labour party also release a party political broadcast aimed at our towns which can be viewed above.

Labour's new policies aimed at rejuvenating Town Centres

After a great conference where our towns and the problems they are facing were firmly on the agenda the Labour party has announced 5 brand new policies aimed at rejuvenating our town centres:

Since 2010 towns have had half the rate of new jobs and businesses as cities. In what is already the slowest economic recovery for generations, on average towns have seen the number of jobs grow by just 5%  since 2010 under Tory austerity - half the rate of increase as in cities. Overall town economies have grown on average at just two thirds of the rate of cities.  



 

Yet far from tackling the widening economic gap, the Tory Government is making it worse. Tory regional policies have concentrated on city growth deals and there’s no industrial strategy for towns. Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and Crossrail are concentrated on London and other cities and the strongest devolution deals are based on city regions.

 

  • Job and business growth in town constituencies has been around half the rate as in city constituencies since 2010
  • Economic growth under the Tories has been only two-thirds the rate in local authorities covering towns as in local authorities covering cities
  • The average rate of business growth in town constituencies has been almost twice the level of growth in constituencies covering towns and smaller cities since 2010
  • In the first six years of Tory government, city economies grew by 17% whilst towns only grew by 11% 

 

In the coming weeks and months, the Group will be publishing evidence exposing the damage done to public services in towns by Tory cuts. 

 

On the publication of the new research Yvette Cooper MP said:

“Towns are the backbone of Britain but our towns aren’t getting a fair deal. In the slowest economic recovery in modern times, towns are seeing their jobs and businesses grow at only around half the rate of cities under the Tories. There is a very real and widening economic gap which isn’t good for the country. And Tory policies are making it worse – as key services have been lost from towns altogether under austerity. Towns don’t want to be patronised, we want a fair deal. That’s why councillors, MPs and party members have set up Labour Towns to champion our towns and expose the damage the Tories are doing. Britain needs both our towns and our cities to prosper - the growing economic gap is bad for all of us.”

To see the full research click here.

Tory Austerity is Hitting Towns

Since 2010 towns have had half the rate of new jobs and businesses as cities. In what is already the slowest economic recovery for generations, on average towns have seen the number of jobs grow by just 5%  since 2010 under Tory austerity - half the rate of increase as in cities. Overall town economies have grown on average at just two thirds of the rate of cities.    

New figures show that the big cities are the main winners when it comes to Lottery funding with the former industrial areas missing out.

The dream of a big house, nice car and exotic holidays inspire millions of us to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards each week.

Research carried out nearly a decade ago showed that skilled manual workers are more likely to buy a ticket than managerial and professional workers.

The National Lottery was dubbed ‘a tax on the poor’.

That however, is a fact that we can no longer confirm, even though we suspect it, because we do not know where lottery tickets are bought.

Why does that matter? Because without that vital piece of information, we do not know how much more some customers are putting into the National Lottery than they are getting out of it.

Every year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport publishes how much cash every Parliamentary constituency receives in lottery funding for projects.

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that it is not the poorest areas of the country that receive the most lottery cash.The ten constituencies which receive the most money are always dominated by the UK’s biggest cities; London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol.Meanwhile former coalfield and industrial areas come lagging way behind.

The figures speak for themselves: in 2015, my constituency of Ashfield received about £930,000 of lottery funding, ranking it 362 of 650 constituencies.

Nottingham South, just down the road, got £64.8m the same year, the third highest in the country.

In the same year, Manchester Central received £31.6m of funding, while nearby Wigan got just over £3m, ten times less, but actually a lot more than Barnsley East, which was awarded less than £90,000.

The pattern repeats for examples in many other cities and the former industrial towns lying just a few miles outside them.

This has of course been noticed before.

The Industrial Communities Alliance has published articles on the issue and has found “evidence of systematic bias against certain types of areas and communities” with regards to the distribution of lottery funding.

Their research suggests that industrial areas receive only 60% of the national average funding per head.

It put the cumulative loss of funding to Britain’s industrial communities at around £3bn a few years ago, and this will only have increased since then.

We have asked that Camelot not only publishes data on where lottery tickets and scratch cards are bought, so we can see the differences between this and where lottery funding is given out, but that it also does more to close this gap.

In this age of austerity and cuts, former coalfield and industrial communities need lottery funding more than ever to support projects that could otherwise be at risk of closure.

People in these areas will often feel no benefit of the prestigious lottery funded arts, culture and heritage offerings in nearby cities – some of them have never even visited their nearest city.

It is time the way lottery funding is allocated was changed, so that these areas are no longer disadvantaged and are given the share of the money they deserve.


It is only fair.

* Gloria De Piero is the Labour MP for Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: Funding for the arts and sports is not a lottery. It's a stitch up

New figures show that the big cities are the main winners when it comes to Lottery funding with the former industrial areas missing out. The dream of a big house, nice car and exotic holidays inspire millions of us to buy lottery tickets and scratch cards each week. Research carried out nearly a decade ago showed that skilled manual workers are more likely to buy a ticket than managerial and professional workers.

After a great conference where our towns and the problems they are facing were firmly on the agenda the Labour party has announced 5 brand new policies aimed at rejuvenating our town centres:

  1. Ban ATM charges and stop bank branch and Post Office closures
  2. Improve local bus services and provide free bus travel for under 25s
  3. Deliver free public Wi-Fi in town centres
  4. Establish a register of landlords of empty shops in each local authority
  5. Introduce annual revaluations of business rates, ensure a fair appeals system review the business rates system to bring it into the 21st century

The Labour party also release a party political broadcast aimed at our towns which can be viewed above.

Labour's new policies aimed at rejuvenating Town Centres

After a great conference where our towns and the problems they are facing were firmly on the agenda the Labour party has announced 5 brand new policies aimed at rejuvenating our town centres:

View More Posts

Standing up for Labour Towns

Yvette Cooper MP responds to Govts 'Stronger Towns Fund'

  This morning the Government announced a 'Stronger Towns Fund' of £1.7 billion to be spent over the next 7 years. Yvette Cooper MP chair of the Labour Towns group commented: “This Government announcement shows that long campaigning for more investment in towns from local government, MPs and the Labour Towns group has had an impact and we need to keep up the pressure as new investment is important.  

Tracy Brabin: We need a Government to look beyond the cities

February 12, 2019

What does a modern, thriving and vibrant town look like? A question decision-makers have wrestled with time and again while they plough yet more investment into our cities. Almost 60% per cent of the population live in towns, yet cities get disproportionately more investment. Our towns are suffering - and we’re sick and tired of playing second fiddle.

Ian Lucas MP: Wrexhams singing streets 2018

October 16, 2018

MP's choir festival fills streets of Wrexham with song An all-day choir festival ensured the streets of a North Wales market town were filled with song.

 

This morning the Government announced a 'Stronger Towns Fund' of £1.7 billion to be spent over the next 7 years.

Yvette Cooper MP chair of the Labour Towns group commented:

“This Government announcement shows that long campaigning for more investment in towns from local government, MPs and the Labour Towns group has had an impact and we need to keep up the pressure as new investment is important.

 

But spreading the money over 7 years is too little to close the widening economic gap between cities and towns or to turn around towns that are still being hit by austerity and are crying out for new investment.

 

“We need to see the details now on how many towns this fund will help and what scale of investment it will provide. At a time when towns are still seeing public services move to big cities, and libraries, swimming pools, children’s centres and community centres all close, we need to know when local government will get enough money to reverse those cuts. Job growth in our towns has been just half the rate as in our cities since 2010, so new investment needs to be significant enough and part of a strong industrial strategy for towns to turn this round.

 

“New investment is important and must be part of a wider strategy and programme to deliver a fair deal for towns that are still being hit by austerity. 

 

“We will keep pressing for proper industrial strategy for towns including giving towns their fair share of transport investment, local government funding and public services provision. We’ll continue to campaign for a fair deal for our towns”.

Yvette Cooper MP responds to Govts 'Stronger Towns Fund'

  This morning the Government announced a 'Stronger Towns Fund' of £1.7 billion to be spent over the next 7 years. Yvette Cooper MP chair of the Labour Towns group commented: “This Government announcement shows that long campaigning for more investment in towns from local government, MPs and the Labour Towns group has had an impact and we need to keep up the pressure as new investment is important.  

What does a modern, thriving and vibrant town look like? A question decision-makers have wrestled with time and again while they plough yet more investment into our cities.

Almost 60% per cent of the population live in towns, yet cities get disproportionately more investment. Our towns are suffering - and we’re sick and tired of playing second fiddle.

 

I belong to a group of Labour MPs, Councillors and others called Labour Towns and our mission is to find transformative solutions to reinvigorate our ailing and neglected towns.

I’m not saying we need to reinvent the wheel. We already have much to celebrate here in Batley and Spen and a wonderful, diverse population that could rival anywhere in the world for its friendliness and open nature.

We just need the means and backing to enable each and every town to craft its own identity and drive investment.

Our Labour Towns blueprint is working towards this.

We can start with the basics – each town should have a Post Office, a bank, a library, a modern leisure centre and be well-served by public transport as an absolute minimum.

And I believe culture and the arts has a significant role to play in this regenerative journey. We’ve seen the boost events such as the Cleckheaton Folk Festival, Batley Festival and the Great Get Together can give our businesses. This boost needn’t be a once a year special.

We can place the arts, culture, sport and heritage at the centre of what we do. That’s why I’m backing calls for the Government to set up a National Town of Culture award to run alongside the existing City of Culture award.

The collaborative approach to bids and the shortlisting process has done wonders for the cities that compete, and it’s time our towns had a piece of the action.

And there’s more. Over the past year I’ve done a lot of work to help local, independent businesses adapt to an increasingly cash-less society by enlisting a firm to give away free card-reading technology.

Such adaptations to changing consumer habits is vital in enabling businesses to compete in the digital age. But our high streets also need Government support.

Our independent businesses are being hit with massive hikes in rates while the likes of Amazon hand over just a fraction of its multi-billion turnover. Our outdated and manifestly unfair business rates system desperately needs revaluating to make it fit for purpose for the 21st century.

Public transport is also a big issue. Companies often cherry-pick the most profitable bus-routes, leaving many with no means to get to where they need to go. We need to improve our bus services so our communities can thrive, not cut them.

I know there’s much to do – but I know we have the skills, talent, creativity and ideas to rebuild and reinvigorate our communities.

We just need a Government willing to look beyond the cities

Tracy Brabin: We need a Government to look beyond the cities

February 12, 2019

What does a modern, thriving and vibrant town look like? A question decision-makers have wrestled with time and again while they plough yet more investment into our cities. Almost 60% per cent of the population live in towns, yet cities get disproportionately more investment. Our towns are suffering - and we’re sick and tired of playing second fiddle.