UK regions losing faith in levelling- up agenda, says HS2 East campaign

New research by campaign group HS2 East has revealed a lack of public confidence in the levelling-up agenda. A poll of more than 2,000

people from the Midlands and the North revealed that just 20% were confident the Government is doing enough to level up the UK economy. The study also revealed

concerns about the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 and the associated strain it has put on public finances.

‘Now is the time for the Government to restore public confidence in levelling up by committing to the Eastern Leg of HS2’

Some 59% of people were

worried the pandemic would widen social and economic inequalities, while 47% of those questioned thought it may stop Government investing in infrastructure, welfare and affordable housing. Seven out of 10 people also

thought that the short-term pressures of Covid-19 had shifted focus away from climate change

Eastern Leg Transport Poverty

sparking a huge improvement in local transport links and will establish the region as a centre for innovation and renewable energy generation. “It will provide green, carbon-

Area of Transport Poverty

neutral travel for the next century. It must go ahead, as the Prime Minister and numerous other Cabinet Ministers have repeatedly promised.” Lord McLoughlin, the former

and stalled efforts to decarbonise. It comes as leaders from across

the East Midlands and North call for Government to commit to delivering the Eastern Leg of HS2. A recent report showed that

communities surrounding the Eastern Leg suffered from lower productivity, received a lower transport spend and were home to a greater number of social mobility cold spots than their counterparts on HS2’s Western Leg, as well as compared to the UK average. Crucially, these social mobility

cold spots – where educational and employment outcomes were poor – were highly correlated with

areas experiencing transport poverty. Darren Henry, MP for Broxtowe

and chairman of the Midlands Engine APPG, said: “It is clear that the public is concerned about the longer-term effects of Covid-19, and the impact it will have on communities like Broxtowe that have historically been underfunded. “Now is the time for the

Government to restore public confidence in levelling up by committing to the Eastern Leg of HS2. In the East Midlands, the new hub station at Toton will create thousands of highly skilled jobs, is

Transport Secretary, added: “It is crystal clear that the Eastern Leg of HS2 must go ahead in full. “Any further delay will undermine the economic future of the East Midlands, at a time when we need to be decisive and boost business confidence. In particular, the new HS2 East Midlands Hub at Toton is a hugely exciting opportunity for development, and one that we cannot pass by. If Government is going to successfully level up, it must give this project the green light.” The National Infrastructure

Commission is due to publish its Rail Needs Assessment, a series of recommendations to Government regarding how it can optimise the delivery of HS2’s Eastern Leg, imminently. The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, setting out how the Eastern Leg will be delivered, is due out before the end of the year.

Top-up with Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Participating lenders in the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) are now able to offer smaller businesses across the UK a “top-up” to their existing loan if they originally borrowed less than the maximum amount available to them. The Bounce Back Loan top-up was made available from several large

lenders on 10 November, with other lenders anticipated to make the top-up available in due course.

‘By mid-October, 81,354 loans worth £2.37bn had been offered under the BBLS’

The top-ups are only available from a borrower’s existing BBLS lender. A borrower can apply for a top-up that is for the lesser of £50,000 or

25% of the annual turnover the borrower certified in their original successful BBLS application form, minus the value of their original loan. For example, if a borrower had certified an annual turnover of £100,000

in their original application and taken a Bounce Back Loan of £20,000 (20% of that certified annual turnover), they can ask to borrow an additional £5,000 (5% of that certified annual turnover), taking their Bounce Back Loan to the maximum 25% of their originally certified annual turnover. A short form template application form will be available from the BBLS

accredited lenders. Borrowers must complete this application form to be eligible for a top-up. The top-up application form will require borrowers to indicate the amount of the top-up requested and re-provide certain declarations set out in the original Bounce Back Loan application form.

48 business network December 2020/January 2021 By mid-October, 81,354 loans worth £2.37bn had been offered under the

BBLS, while £1.01bn was provided across 4,124 facilities under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Further details and conditions are available on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme page at

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