Towns fund money is great news for Mansfield
Last week, the Chancellor set out his budget to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people with a three point plan – to support people and businesses through this moment of crises, to begin to fix the public finances and to build our future economy.
These included plans to further support incomes through the furlough scheme and help businesses to recover, to extend eligibility for self-employed support to more people and a new scheme of recovery grants to help businesses, among a great many other measures.
Locally, we have had some really good news as Mansfield was awarded £12.3 million through the towns fund.
This money is for the whole district and is to support a number of schemes that we had bid for in 2020.
We now have to select our priorities to spend that money on.
The bid included a new leisure and community hub in Warsop to replace the old Meden Sports Centre which closed a few years ago.
There was also a business and skills centre in Mansfield Woodhouse to support local businesses and help create employment, a centre of excellence at West Notts College, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, which will act as a hub for new research & technology and offer skills and training to local people and a service hub in Mansfield town centre, bringing council, health and employment support services (among others) together under one roof in a high street setting.
This will draw those customers in to the town centre, where this increased audience can then support local retailers and other businesses.
In short, it will help make the high street busier, as well as offering better access to local services.
Alongside this, the East Midlands has been approved as one of our first post-Brexit Freeports, which will be just down the road at East Midlands Airport.
This Freeport status allows us to offer tax and trade incentives to businesses, encouraging them to locate and to grow here on our doorstep, and we hope will create literally tens of thousands of jobs nearby.
It’s a massive boost as we look to recover from Covid-19 and to improve the prospects and opportunities for local people.
I am really delighted at these Budget successes – as well as the national measures – and that this investment is coming our way.
I’ll continue to push for more through future funding schemes, including the new levelling up fund which opened this week and which we are already preparing bids for.
Ben Bradley is MP for Mansfield.