James Wild: Ready to benefit from New Deal
North West Norfolk MP James Wild's weekly column during the pandemic, Friday, July 3, 2020
This week the Prime Minister put investment in jobs, infrastructure, skills, and technology at the heart of his New Deal to drive the economic recovery and level up.
North West Norfolk is well-placed to benefit. The Borough Council has just submitted a £21.6 million bid for the Future High Streets Fund to boost King’s Lynn’s Covid-19 recovery.
This will improve the South Gate, provide a new training and enterprise hub, more housing, and maximise our Shakespeare heritage.
Today I will join other members of the Towns Deal board to review our proposals for the Town Investment Plan. Ahead of submitting those proposals, it was announced that Lynn will also receive at least an extra £500,000 for projects such as improving parks, high streets, or transport links.
Along with the schemes to improve the A47 announced in March, I am working with Network Rail and the Department for Transport on the proposed investment at Ely North to unlock half-hourly services and other benefits for our region.
Though at an early stage, I’m sponsoring a Restoring Railways bid to fund development of a business case for the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line.
As well as infrastructure, this means investing in people, particularly young people. Due to Covid-19 there has been a significant increase in 18-24 year olds claiming Universal Credit compared to a year ago.
The West Norfolk for Jobs steering group which I sit on along with Job Centre Plus, local employers, borough council and other partners reviewed this challenge recently.
Next week the Chancellor will set out details on an Opportunity Guarantee so that every young person has the chance of apprenticeship or an in-work placement so that they boost the skills and confidence they need to find the job that is right for them.
Any local employers who can offer mentoring, job interview practice, or placements should get in touch.
As part of our plans to recover from Covid-19, I joined constituents for “The Time is Now” a virtual lobby calling for people, the climate and nature to be at the heart of the UK’s recovery. The UK led the world in legislating for net zero by 2050 and we need to put in place measures to meet that goal.
There were many good ideas that I am encouraging the government to pursue including a programme to insulate our homes, more funding for cycling and walking, better bus connections, restoring nature, and investing in clean technologies.
Like many people, I will be out tomorrow supporting our hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors as they re-open.
The message from businesses I’ve spoken to is they need our help in remaining vigilant and following the guidance in order to do this safely.
Events in Leicester show this virus can and will flare up.So let’s play our part in making this reopening, which is vital to jobs and our economy, successful.If not, then lockdown will return.