Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Cabinet met in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday (Thursday) as a “prime example of levelling-up in action.”
The Prime Minister opened by welcoming Cabinet to Stoke-on-Trent and provided updates on his recent visits to Finland and Sweden to help strengthen our close defence and security partnership with two key allies.
Turning to the issue of Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister said the people of Northern Ireland deserve effective governance to drive growth and investment, and stressed the importance of working to get the executive back up and running. He reiterated that we need to fix the protocol to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
Cabinet then discussed the continued focus on levelling up, saying it is morally, socially and economically the right way forward for the UK. The Prime Minister said the Queen’s Speech and bills including the levelling up and regeneration bill were examples of how the Government is continuing to deliver for the people.
The Levelling Up Secretary pointed to Stoke-on-Trent as an historic world-renowned success for business and innovation, but said there is more to do here and across the UK to better level up education, health and housing.
The Prime Minister reiterated that tackling the global cost of living pressures must be at the forefront of all work to help continue to support people during a difficult financial period.
The Culture Secretary concluded with an update to Cabinet on plans for upcoming major events that will enable people to come together in celebration, including the Queen’s Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The Prime Minister said:
“I’m delighted to bring Cabinet to Stoke-on-Trent today – a city which is the beating heart of the ceramics industry and an example of the high-skilled jobs that investment can bring to communities.
“This Government is getting on with delivering the people’s priorities and tackling the issues that matter most to the public.
“This week we’ve set out how we’ll use new landmark legislation to grow our economy to address the cost-of-living, and level up opportunities for communities across the country.”
The Government says it has injected £56 million into Stoke-on-Trent from the first round of the Levelling up Fund. This is intended to go towards boosting the supply of quality housing in the city, as well as attracting visitors to the area.
Stoke-on-Trent also received six successful Community Renewal Fund bids totalling over £3.5 million for projects supporting education, jobs and boosting skills.
A spokesperson for Number 10 said:
“The Queen’s Speech has been designed to deliver direct benefits for communities like Stoke, for example, with a new Bill that will improve the planning system to give residents a louder voice, making sure developments are beautiful, green and accompanied by new infrastructure and affordable housing.
“The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will help spread opportunities by creating more of the jobs, homes and high streets that people want, as well as empower local leaders to regenerate their areas and ensure everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success.”
Separate from the Cabinet meeting, ministers visited communities and businesses across the region including pottery manufacturers.
The Prime Minister also visited Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium ahead of the city hosting the Commonwealth Games this summer. The Prime Minister was joined by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street as he met members of Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club at the stadium that will be the centre point of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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