Peter Aldous calls on the Government to review the investment criteria ahead of bids for round 3 of the levelling up fund to include stand-alone coastal defence schemes that are not part of a wider transport regeneration or cultural bid as such projects bring significant economic and social benefits.
Levelling-up Fund Round 2
19. What assessment he has made of the adequacy of the geographical spread of the funding awarded in the second round of the levelling-up fund. (903633)
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (Dehenna Davison)
The second round of the levelling-up fund will invest up to £2.1 billion in 111 vital local infrastructure projects. We prioritised investment in high-quality bids in places that have not previously received levelling-up fund money in order to maximise the spread of overall funding from rounds 1 and 2. In this round of the fund, two thirds of the funding went to those places in the greatest need, which we designated as category 1. In Scotland, across both rounds, the amount of money awarded exceeded our public funding commitments.
Projects to protect coastal communities against erosion and flooding bring significant economic and social benefits on their own. Can my hon. Friend therefore review the investment criteria for round 3 of the levelling-up fund to include stand-alone coastal defence schemes that are not part of a wider transport regeneration or cultural bid?
My hon. Friend is a fantastic champion not only for the east of England but, in particular, for coastal communities. We know that coastal communities add unique value to our country and offer significant growth potential, which is why 22 coastal areas are benefiting from more than £673 million of investment via the towns fund, why eight English freeports are in coastal areas and why coastal areas such as Ramsgate continue to benefit from the levelling-up fund, but of course I will be happy to meet him to discuss this further.