Newham given £40m from infrastructure fund after two successful bids

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak stands with his ministerial team and Parliamentary Private S

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street before delivering his Budget - Credit: PA

Newham Council has received almost £40million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which invests in small-scale infrastructure projects.

Both of Newham’s bids for the first round of the £4.8bn fund were given the green light by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, following the autumn budget and comprehensive spending review announcement on Wednesday, October 27.

Newham was allocated £19.82m for its Connecting to Opportunity programme related to the use of data and digital technologies.

It received another £19.96m for its 15 Minute Neighbourhoods scheme to promote health and wellbeing and respond to the climate emergency through investment in upgrading infrastructure.

The council says it will release specific details on the schemes and how the money will be spent.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “I’m delighted that both our Levelling Up bids to government have been successful, and we’ve been awarded the full amount that we had bid for.

“My thanks to Lyn Brown MP and Stephen Timms MP for backing our bids, as well as our partners including the Mayor of London.

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“We’ll now get cracking with delivering these much-needed programmes for the benefit of our residents and linked to our recovery plans because the economic and heath impact of Covid-19 has been huge and damaging for our communities."

Newham’s combined allocation was by far the largest out of the total £65m awarded to London councils.

Four other local authorities in the capital made successful bids.

Ms Fiaz added: “The national Levelling Up debate has skewed the reality of scarring inequalities that exist across London.

"That’s why we must continue pressing for fairer funding to all of local government, especially areas of huge deprivation like east London, so that no community is ignored or forgotten.”

It comes as London Councils, a cross-party organisation representing all of the local authorities in the capital, welcomed an increase in funding in the new budget but warned it will not be enough to meet the "huge challenges" faced.

The government doled out a total of £1.7bn to more than 100 successful bids across the UK in the first round of funding.