Could Wigan see £120m windfall?
Communities across Wigan have been recommended for a spectacular multi-million-pound windfall in a new report.
An ambitious plan by Global Future has highlighted a number of borough wards among 28 in Greater Manchester which could receive £120m each over the next 10 years.
Abram, Pemberton, Ince, Douglas, Atherton and Leigh West could all receive a huge influx of cash from the Migration Dividend Fund as attempts are made to shift the focus away from city centres and allow more areas of Britain to realise their full potential.
Global Future wants £4.7bn a year to be allocated to reflect the contribution made by EU migrants to the public finances.
This, it argues, will allow the positive effects of migration to be made visible in communities which have struggled to adapt to a more international world and which have also been starved of funding for years.
The plan has attracted the backing of Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.
She said: “Towns have rightly welcomed many migrants over recent years through asylum accommodation and EU migration.
“It has brought huge benefits but cannot compensate for decades of underinvestment in our towns. This welcome report recognises the urgent need for investment outside of the big cities.”
Global Future wants money targeted in six areas: improving skills, boosting childcare and early years support, revitalising public space, attracting investment to left-behind areas, encouraging innovation and creating better transport links.
The report lays bare increasing polarisation across the UK between thriving urban centres and older communities in towns, saying Britain is too unequal.
It recognises that public concern about immigration is highest in the least-affluent areas but says restricting access to workers from abroad will not help, saying the solutions to under-investment lie in the UK as that is where they were caused.
The windfalls for wards should be invested by local people for residents in those communities, the report says, with the Government’s role restricted to co-ordinating nationwide schemes and evaluating how the money is being spent.
Polling carried out to coincide with the report’s publication showed a massive 71 per cent of those questioned thought London and other big cities were prioritised over the rest of the country.
The idea of a Migration Dividend Fund, as opposed to a cut in corporation tax, is backed by 69 per cent of the public.
Global Future director Peter Starkings said: “The Migration Dividend Fund is designed to harness the benefits of immigration and ensure they are shared fairly around the UK – focusing on those towns and small cities suffering at the sharp end of economic change.”