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A review of the methods used to allocate funding under the Long-Term Plan for Towns

  • Posted By GC Insight

The UK government recently announced a new funding package for 55 towns across the country, the Long-Term Plan for Towns. The plan sets out a regeneration scheme where each town selected will receive ten years of funding amounting to £20 million, with a 75:25 split between capital and revenue spending.

The 55 towns were selected using a methodology that ranks built up areas (BUAs) according to their Levelling Up Needs. The methodology for selecting the towns identified as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns across Great Britain follows a systematic process.

First, local authorities are ranked based on Levelling Up Need, incorporating metrics related to skills, pay, productivity, and health. The bottom quartile across these metrics is identified, forming a priority list for each nation. Additionally, a score is assigned to each authority based on relative performance.

Next, local authorities without appropriately sized built-up areas (BUAs) within a population threshold of 20,000 to 100,000 are excluded. England, Scotland, and Wales each have specific criteria for matching BUAs to local authorities and applying population thresholds. Furthermore, regional caps are applied to ensure geographic spread, limiting the number of selected authorities in each region.

In England, the top 44 local authorities based on Levelling Up Need that met the population threshold and regional cap were selected, while in Scotland, the top 7 were and in Wales, the top 4.



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In the final step, the most deprived BUA within each ranked local authority is selected based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for each nation. Deprivation rankings are aggregated at the BUA level, and the most deprived area within each authority is chosen.

The North West (10), East Midlands (9) and Yorkshire and the Humber (9) are the main beneficiaries of funding. Unsurprisingly, the South East (3) and South West (1) will receive limited funding for their towns.

The spread of funding aligns with the findings of our data analysis, with those receiving a higher number of funding allocations broadly performing less well against the indicators.

This selection method will be welcomed by the towns on the list with the removal of the often onerous competitive bidding process. Nevertheless, there is  a requirement to develop new long-term plans for each town. This will set out the town’s vision and priorities for investment and regeneration, aligned to themes of safety and security, high streets, heritage and regeneration, and transport and connectivity.

At ekosgen we are well placed to support with the creation of long-term plans. We have significant successful experience supporting local authorities with Town Deals and the development of Town Investment Plans and associated business cases. This is in addition to helping local authorities secure major funding opportunities such as the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) and UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programmes.

For further information, please contact: (London), (Manchester), or (Scotland).

Article and research by:  Chris Fox and Aakash Pinto