LabourTowns

Our towns our future

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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.

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:

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.    

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.    

How a Labour Town Council looked at new ways to support business and growth when bank closures hit.

 

The story of towns up and down the country have a worrying similarity: first many independent shops closed due to out-of-town retail, then the public services disappeared and now banks are closing at a rate of 300 a year since 1989 – a trend that has accelerated in recent years.

Cities have been able to weather this storm of the closures far better because of their sheer size, but towns are much more vulnerable. The general population trends in towns is of aging populations as young people move away to cities. This has left us with hollowed out town centres as businesses have struggled to maintain their foothold in a place with no destination activities – such as public services or banks.

 

The digital genie is now out of the bottle and it would be completely wrong to try and return it to where it came. Online retail and banking have become second nature to many people and they are beneficial to many groups. However, towns have been slow to react to these changes and harness the same forces which have undermined their sustainability.

 

This was very much the case of a town in my constituency of Delyn. Holywell, a town steeped in history and with so much to offer through tourism, has struggled in recent years. All banks bar one have now vanished, leaving only one town centre ATM for withdrawals and greatly restricted peoples and businesses access to banking facilities. The impact of this was clear from the get go. Businesses were concerned that people would no longer have a reason to visit the town centre and instead travel to the larger town of Mold or even further afield. Their fears bore out into reality. Small retailers started to close and we ended with a high street with little to see or do.

 

At the same time the town lost its Job Centre, due to UK Government cuts, which not only provides help and advice on securing work but also a place for people in need of support through social security to get help and advice. To put the town in perspective, one ward has a child poverty rate – after housing costs – of 42%. People are often in low-paid and insecure work and need support from the welfare system.

 

Footfall continued to decline in the high street and it struggled to attract new investment. Empty shops became a common sight undermining the pride people of Holywell had in their town.

 

A response was desperately needed and the one place with the positivity to do so was the Town Council. They started their regeneration scheme by doing what any good Town Council can and put on events to demonstrate that Holywell was still a town to be proud of. Building on the medieval heritage of the town the Council established an annual Medieval Festival with re-enactments, food stalls and performances in the high street. They have also started to secure antiques fares to take place on the Council’s premises bringing people into Holywell who wouldn’t have previously visited.

 

These events and festivals put the spark back into the town, but more was needed to help the businesses reclaim their rightful prestige.

 

During Labour Conference 2017 I met with the firm Square, who specialise in contactless card readers. During our discussions I noted how Holywell was working hard to recover from the pressures of bank closures but businesses were not able to benefit from the advances in technology and too many of them relied upon cash payments. Card readers, let alone contactless readers, supplied through Visa have high charges for small independent retailers and therefore people, who have now come to expect the ability to pay by card, were unable to spend in the town.

 

Square’s product offers much lower transaction fees than most other card readers and no standing charge. I was able to convince Square to launch the first ‘Digital Town’ in Wales with the retailers of Holywell. We were able to get an agreement whereby Square would give for free retailers in Holywell a card reader – usually charged at £40 per unit – and would launch a digital bursary for businesses. The Council got involved and helped raise awareness of this fantastic opportunity.

 

Over 90% of businesses on the high street took up the offer and businesses applied for the bursary. The bursary is worth £1000 and three businesses would be given these payments if they could demonstrate how they would harness digital technology. We recently handed over the cheques to businesses who will now be investing in e-commerce, something they never thought they could benefit from. Holywell Town Council’s desire to be a digital town and the aspiration to utilise technology, such as apps, has led to the creation of interactive tourist trails and support to shops. This drive showed the power of a town council to lead a community.

 

This is by no means the end of the story for Holywell. A lot more is still needed to be done. Investment is needed from the UK Government into infrastructure and people need the opportunity of secure decent jobs – for currently disposable income in the town is low. But the joint partnership of the Town Council, Square, local retailers and I have been able to give the town a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the future.

 

The digital divide is often talked about through the prism of urban versus rural. However, there is a growing problem between small retailers and large. Small businesses either do not have the expertise or instinct to use e-commerce. This undermines their ability to combat against the large multinationals who base their whole existence upon it. Many smaller businesses cannot afford the cost of card readers meaning customers are unable to shop in our increasingly cashless society.

 

Holywell is now a proud ‘digital town’. Labour led towns can replicate this and give our high streets the tools they need to exist in the 21st century.    

 

Notes:

The Newsnight piece can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLstY2o8PHc

 

 

 

Digital Towns by David Hanson

July 9, 2017

How a Labour Town Council looked at new ways to support business and growth when bank closures hit.   The story of towns up and down the country have a worrying similarity: first many independent shops closed due to out-of-town retail, then the public services disappeared and now banks are closing at a rate of 300 a year since 1989 – a trend that has accelerated in recent years.

How a Labour Town Council looked at new ways to support business and growth when bank closures hit.

 

The story of towns up and down the country have a worrying similarity: first many independent shops closed due to out-of-town retail, then the public services disappeared and now banks are closing at a rate of 300 a year since 1989 – a trend that has accelerated in recent years.

Cities have been able to weather this storm of the closures far better because of their sheer size, but towns are much more vulnerable. The general population trends in towns is of aging populations as young people move away to cities. This has left us with hollowed out town centres as businesses have struggled to maintain their foothold in a place with no destination activities – such as public services or banks.

 

The digital genie is now out of the bottle and it would be completely wrong to try and return it to where it came. Online retail and banking have become second nature to many people and they are beneficial to many groups. However, towns have been slow to react to these changes and harness the same forces which have undermined their sustainability.

 

This was very much the case of a town in my constituency of Delyn. Holywell, a town steeped in history and with so much to offer through tourism, has struggled in recent years. All banks bar one have now vanished, leaving only one town centre ATM for withdrawals and greatly restricted peoples and businesses access to banking facilities. The impact of this was clear from the get go. Businesses were concerned that people would no longer have a reason to visit the town centre and instead travel to the larger town of Mold or even further afield. Their fears bore out into reality. Small retailers started to close and we ended with a high street with little to see or do.

 

At the same time the town lost its Job Centre, due to UK Government cuts, which not only provides help and advice on securing work but also a place for people in need of support through social security to get help and advice. To put the town in perspective, one ward has a child poverty rate – after housing costs – of 42%. People are often in low-paid and insecure work and need support from the welfare system.

 

Footfall continued to decline in the high street and it struggled to attract new investment. Empty shops became a common sight undermining the pride people of Holywell had in their town.

 

A response was desperately needed and the one place with the positivity to do so was the Town Council. They started their regeneration scheme by doing what any good Town Council can and put on events to demonstrate that Holywell was still a town to be proud of. Building on the medieval heritage of the town the Council established an annual Medieval Festival with re-enactments, food stalls and performances in the high street. They have also started to secure antiques fares to take place on the Council’s premises bringing people into Holywell who wouldn’t have previously visited.

 

These events and festivals put the spark back into the town, but more was needed to help the businesses reclaim their rightful prestige.

 

During Labour Conference 2017 I met with the firm Square, who specialise in contactless card readers. During our discussions I noted how Holywell was working hard to recover from the pressures of bank closures but businesses were not able to benefit from the advances in technology and too many of them relied upon cash payments. Card readers, let alone contactless readers, supplied through Visa have high charges for small independent retailers and therefore people, who have now come to expect the ability to pay by card, were unable to spend in the town.

 

Square’s product offers much lower transaction fees than most other card readers and no standing charge. I was able to convince Square to launch the first ‘Digital Town’ in Wales with the retailers of Holywell. We were able to get an agreement whereby Square would give for free retailers in Holywell a card reader – usually charged at £40 per unit – and would launch a digital bursary for businesses. The Council got involved and helped raise awareness of this fantastic opportunity.

 

Over 90% of businesses on the high street took up the offer and businesses applied for the bursary. The bursary is worth £1000 and three businesses would be given these payments if they could demonstrate how they would harness digital technology. We recently handed over the cheques to businesses who will now be investing in e-commerce, something they never thought they could benefit from. Holywell Town Council’s desire to be a digital town and the aspiration to utilise technology, such as apps, has led to the creation of interactive tourist trails and support to shops. This drive showed the power of a town council to lead a community.

 

This is by no means the end of the story for Holywell. A lot more is still needed to be done. Investment is needed from the UK Government into infrastructure and people need the opportunity of secure decent jobs – for currently disposable income in the town is low. But the joint partnership of the Town Council, Square, local retailers and I have been able to give the town a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the future.

 

The digital divide is often talked about through the prism of urban versus rural. However, there is a growing problem between small retailers and large. Small businesses either do not have the expertise or instinct to use e-commerce. This undermines their ability to combat against the large multinationals who base their whole existence upon it. Many smaller businesses cannot afford the cost of card readers meaning customers are unable to shop in our increasingly cashless society.

 

Holywell is now a proud ‘digital town’. Labour led towns can replicate this and give our high streets the tools they need to exist in the 21st century.    

 

Notes:

The Newsnight piece can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLstY2o8PHc

 

 

 

Digital Towns by David Hanson

July 9, 2017

How a Labour Town Council looked at new ways to support business and growth when bank closures hit.   The story of towns up and down the country have a worrying similarity: first many independent shops closed due to out-of-town retail, then the public services disappeared and now banks are closing at a rate of 300 a year since 1989 – a trend that has accelerated in recent years.