Salvation Army boss warns Gosport will 'miss out' on levelling up cash

A TOP official from the Salvation Army has hit out at the government for not reserving Gosport with levelling up cash.

By Toby Paine
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 3:38 pm
Non-essential shops, pubs and gyms reopen on April 12, 2021 as the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions are loosened.
Gosport High Street


Picture: David George
Non-essential shops, pubs and gyms reopen on April 12, 2021 as the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions are loosened. Gosport High Street Picture: David George

In a statement, the humanitarian group warned Gosport will ‘miss out’ on funding designed to address regional inequalities.

Dean Pallant, a lieutenant colonel with The Salvation Army, said: ‘The people who come to our food banks, debt and employment advice services in the south west want to work but are often held back by things beyond their control.

‘Poorly paid seasonal work, lack of access to affordable childcare or just no opportunity to retrain when a large local employer shuts, can trap people and entire areas in deprivation.

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‘The Levelling Up Fund is a chance to invest in the people of the south west that don’t want a handout but a hand up.

‘We are not criticising where funding has been allocated so far. However, with almost half the funding already spent, we are asking the government to focus what money is left on those areas with the highest level of deprivation.

‘The commitment to Level Up is a bold government policy, but an equal playing field means reaching out to those desperate for help to make a better life for themselves and their children.

‘Without funding, these communities will fall even deeper into social deprivation.’

In Gosport some 10.7 per cent of the town’s population are income-deprived and four neighbourhoods in the borough are among the 20 per cent most deprived in the country, ONS figures show.

In addition to reconsidering how funding is allocated The Salvation Army is also calling on the government to develop a new plan to fund childcare, invest in skills and employment support and engage with communities to identify how to ‘Level Up’ their areas.

But Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said the constituency would still be boosted, insisting the levelling up agenda would provide the town with a consultancy scheme aimed at revitalising its high street.

‘It is fantastic news that Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington and Hill Head are set to benefit from the government’s levelling up agenda.

‘This will ensure greater access to expertise, consulting and help to regenerate our local town centres,’ she said.

She also said that her constituency will be eligible for a share of the £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund - the exact amount is unknown.

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