55 towns across the UK will each be given £20 million over a 10-year period to help regenerate high streets and tackle anti-social behaviour.

It comes as Prime Minster Rishi Sunak shared that the new long-term vision for towns, backed by £1 billion of investment, was about putting “funding in the hands of local people” to improve their communities.

The announcement will see the 55 towns including seven in Scotland and four in Wales, given a £20 million endowment-style fund – each to be spent over the course of a decade.

The funding is expected to be used to help local priorities such as reviving high streets, tackling anti-social behaviour, improving transport, boosting visitor numbers and growing the local economy.

Worcester News:

55 towns in the UK to receive £20 million funding 

Sunak's announcement comes on the eve of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Prime Minister and Tory leader Rishi Sunak said: “Towns are the place most of us call home and where most of us go to work.

“But politicians have always taken towns for granted and focused on cities.

“The result is the half-empty high streets, rundown shopping centres and anti-social behaviour that undermine many towns’ prosperity and hold back people’s opportunity — and without a new approach, these problems will only get worse.

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“That changes today. Our Long-Term Plan for Towns puts funding in the hands of local people themselves to invest in line with their priorities, over the long-term. That is how we level up.”

The investment is reported to allow towns to set a town board, bringing together community leaders, employers, local authorities and the local MP, to help deliver a plan for consultation.

Discussing the town boards, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) would be able to use a suite of regeneration powers while deploying the new funding.

Officials have also suggested that more private sector investment could be unlocked by auctioning empty high street shops, reforming licensing rules on shops and restaurants, and supporting more housing in urban centres.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “We know that in our towns the values of hard work and solidarity, common sense and common purpose, endeavour and quiet patriotism have endured across generations.

“But for too long, too many of our great British towns have been overlooked and undervalued.

“We are putting this right through our Long-Term Plan for Towns backed by over £1 billion of levelling up funding."

Labour's Angela Rayner opposes PM's 10-year plan

Discussing Sunak's £20m for the 'overlooked' towns, Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary, said: “It takes a special kind of arrogance for a Prime Minister caught on tape boasting that he had swiped money from ‘deprived urban areas’ to now expect local people to be grateful for a promise to hand a tiny fraction of it back.

“Levelling up announcements from this Government amount to barely more than shiny headlines, chaos and delays.

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“While the Tories force communities to go cap in hand to Whitehall begging for their own money back, the next Labour government will spread power, wealth and opportunity to all parts of our country.

“We will grow our economy by harnessing the talents, ambition and skills of all British people and, in turn, provide sustainable, long-term funding for councils, and certainty for business to invest.

“Labour will give these towns their future back.”

Full list of towns that will £20 million as part of Rishi Sunak's plan

See the list of towns receiving the funds below.

DLUHC said towns had been allocated funding according to the Levelling Up Needs Index, taking into account metrics covering skills, pay, productivity and health, as well as the Index of Multiple Deprivation, to ensure funding goes directly to the towns which will benefit most.