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World News

Christian charity warns one in three areas could be locked out of gov’s ‘Levelling Up’ funding

by Kelly Valencia

Coastal and rural areas that feature some of the highest levels of deprivation in England could miss out on the government's Levelling Up funding.

That's according to a new report by the Salvation Army which is warning a further 45 areas should be listed for investment.

The government has already selected 93 areas to be prioritised in receiving the £4.8bn in funding as part of the Levelling Up policy which seeks to reduce regional inequality.

Speaking to Premier, Rebecca Keating, director of employment services for Salvation Army said they want the government to “engage and listen” to what the communities are saying.

“We want them to just rethink how they're calculating these areas of need, just to make sure that all of this is getting to the right people and the investment is made in the areas to help people get out of poverty,” Keating said.

The government is yet to detail how and when the allocation of fundings will happen. A White Paper on the issue is due to be published in the autumn.

The Understanding People, Understanding Places report also showed that the lack of access to childcare was one of the key barriers to people finding work. 

“One of the key differences between what the Salvation Army has done and what the government has done is we've listened to people rather than just use spreadsheets. And we've done that through our churches and through our community halls,” Keating continued.

“Interestingly, not one of the people that we spoke to that came into our churches and community centres said that what would help them would be things like bridges or infrastructure [or] big shopping centres. They want affordable childcare; they want to be able to have a well-paid job which can afford that childcare and to be able to feed their families.”

The charity is calling on the government to reconsider how funding is allocated, develop a new plan of investment in accessible childcare and invest in skills and employment support.

You can read the full report here.

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