Newham set for £40m levelling up fund bid
- Credit: Steve Poston
Town hall chiefs have agreed to bid for £40million from the government's levelling up pot of funding.
Newham is one of just two local authorities in the capital to be granted the highest tier status in the bidding process, meaning the borough is recognised as most in need of help.
It comes after the area was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
If the bid is successful, £40m worth of funding would be channelled towards community based projects.
Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: "The recent pandemic has disproportionately impacted our residents whilst exposing the deep, existing inequalities facing Newham.
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"However it has redoubled our determination to build an economy where people are at the heart of developments."
Newham was identified as having the highest number of furloughed jobs by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in June 2020.
The borough had the highest death rate per 100,000 people in England and Wales in May last year, according to the ONS.
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Trust for London, a charitable foundation, reports more than half of children - 52 per cent - are judged to be in households in poverty.
The council has two visions for the funding bid.
The first is to further develop 15 minute neighbourhoods, which aim to provide people access to most of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from home.
Sprucing up streets, boosting air quality and green space are among the ideas, as well as new uses for council buildings such as the Alice Billings Centre in Stratford.
The second vision, dubbed New Connections, seeks to put Newham "at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution", according to a council spokesperson.
It builds on artificial intelligence technology as well as the data and digital sector.
The local authority believes that linking its Royal Docks innovation hubs and enterprise zone status will deliver growth in the data and creative industry. It also wants to plug into Canary Wharf, the Thames Gateway and Cambridge Arc.
Ms Fiaz said: "A successful bid will bring up to £40m of grant funding into the borough and accelerate our ambitious community wealth building agenda.
"These are growth plans that put our residents at the heart of our decisions."