The Caerphilly Borough’s 3 Labour MPs (Wayne David, Chris Evans and Gerald Jones) have joined up with the leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Philippa Marsden, to lobby the UK government regarding funding discrimination against the Caerphilly Borough.
The UK government has recently created the Community Regeneration Fund and indicated that there will be 100 “priority areas”. Despite containing some of the least prosperous areas in the South Wales valleys, the Caerphilly Borough has been excluded from the priority list.
It would appear that central government have used limited criteria which do not take into account travel-to-work patterns, and which fail to consider “economic inactivity”. If these factors had been part of the criteria used, then the Caerphilly Borough would certainly have qualified for the priority list.
The 3 MPs and the Council leader have set out 4 indicators which should have been considered. The authors of the letter believe that these indicators must be included in the criteria for the future Shared Prosperity Fund, which is soon to replace European funding, of which the Caerphilly Borough has been a major recipient.
Wayne David MP said:
“We are extremely concerned that the Caerphilly Borough has been excluded from the Shared Prosperity Fund priority list. Without doubt, the Caerphilly Borough has some of the worst social and economic deprivation in the South Wales valleys, and yet it has been excluded from the priority list.
We want the UK government to recognise that this is wrong and use different criteria for deciding funding allocations. This will be extremely important for the much larger Shared Prosperity Fund which is to follow-on from the Community Regeneration Fund.”
Council leader Philippa Marsden said:
“Why has Caerphilly been excluded from accessing much needed funding when we also have some of the poorest communities in the country? Our communities deserve better and I will fight to ensure that we receive fair treatment and fair funding from the government.
If the Council is unable to access this funding, it could have a significant impact upon our future ambitions and ability to support our most disadvantaged residents. This must never happen again, and we are demanding that the UK government takes a different approach in the future”.