Michael Gove promises £20.7m levelling up cash for Blyth - Northumberland's 'most deprived' town

Michael Gove visited Blyth to announce £20.7m of funding. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A £20.7m package has been announced for one of the country's most "left-behind" towns.

Blyth, in Northumberland, has been promised £20.7million for housing, CCTV to tackle antisocial behaviour and to help provide qualifications for young people.

The Department for Levelling Up described it as a "deep dive" programme, similar to packages previously announced for Blackpool and Grimsby.

The Government described Blyth as the most deprived town in Northumberland and said it had been identified as one of the most left-behind in the country.

Visiting the town's Catapult, the centre for offshore renewable energy, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said Blyth was a community with "enormous potential".

He added: "I think it's the case if you look historically Blyth had a tremendous history when it came to ship building and coal. Those industries were sadly eclipsed over time. Now you've got a government absolutely committed to levelling up.

"So yes there have been problems in Blyth's past but Blyth has a brighter future now."

What will the £20.7m be spent on?

  • £18m has been promised to repurpose "run-down and empty" homes into affordable housing to rent and to convert under-used offices into flats.

  • Almost £1.5m will fund high-tech training equipment at the town's Energy Central Campus

  • £200,000 will be spent on CCTV as part of an initiative to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour

Responding to the announcement, Henri Murison, of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: "I think the challenge is the amount of money involved is still not going to measure up to the real challenge.

"I welcome all investment that comes any of our towns or villages or cities in the North East but it's piecemeal funding and what it isn't doing is giving long-term certainty of funding to address the fundamental issues like education and the wider health inequalities which actually in the end really drive the local economy."

Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, described the news as "fantastic" for Blyth and said it was a boost to a "multi-million-pound investment" planned for the town.

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