Conservative chairman says Government 'very committed' to Mansfield's 'levelling up' plans
With parties on the election trail as the county elections loom, Conservative Party chairperson Amanda Milling has paid a visit to Mansfield to discuss her party’s plans for ‘levelling up’ and the country’s recovery plans post-Covid.
The co-chairman is touring the country and stopped off in the town to meet MP Ben Bradley as well as discuss a number of topical issues with Chad reporter Katrina Taylor.
We asked her about the Government’s plans to tackle the mental health and physical impacts of coronavirus – alongside the financial recovery of the country as lockdown measures continue to be eased.
Her visit came as it emerged the pandemic has caused a ‘major backlog’ of routine operations at King’s Mill Hospital, with psychologists also claiming it has posed a ‘serious threat’ to people’s mental health’ – leaving many wondering what the true cost of the crisis could be.
“The Government does recognise the impact on mental health and we are focusing on this with everything we plan,” she told Chad.
"It’s one of the reasons that we have been very clear, that it is fundamentally important that we get this roadmap right, and that it has to be cautious but irreversible – we do not
wish to go back into lockdown.
"We have kept our promise to increase the numbers of nurses working for the NHS and we will continue to do what we can to ensure people can access the help they need.”
Much has also been said about ‘levelling up’ left-behind areas of the country, like Mansfield and Ashfield, however many are still unsure about what this actually means in practice and how the districts will benefit.
With Future High Streets and Towns Funds applications receiving mixed results for the area, there is a clamour to bring underfunded places onto a level playing field with more affluent towns and cities.
But what types of ‘levelling up’ we can expect to see in future for Mansfield and Ashfield?
“We are very committed to levelling up, and since we were elected we have delivered on our promises – but the key thing about this, is that it is really not for central Government to
say what the money is spent on," said Ms Milling.
"We, as a Government, are providing the pots of money and giving towns opportunities to bid for project funding, but it is really down to residents to be telling their representatives
what they need.
"That is why we have left it open, so it can be spent on local priorities, defined by whatever is needed in each area.”
Mansfield’s Place Board is due to meet next week to rubber-stamp the projects which will move to the next stage as part of the town’s £12.3m secured from the Government’s Town
Some of the projects expected to progress include moving the council’s services into the town centre and the creation of a Mansfield Connect hub for partnership organisations, which would provide office, commercial and education space to increase footfall and spend.
For more information on the plans, check out the Mansfield District Council’s website.