A report from the Pennon Group has been published this month which lists Plymouth Sutton and Devonport as the South West’s constituency most urgently in need of ‘levelling up. Luke Pollard MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, asking that Plymouth and the wider South West get their fair share of funding in the future.
The report, titled ‘Levelling Up the Great South West: a G7 Legacy’, was published yesterday by Exeter-based company Pennon Group that owns South West Water. Pennon assessed every constituency in Devon and Cornwall based on several metrics, including deprivation, crime, health and financial dependency, in order to create a ‘levelling up priority’ ranking. In this ranking, Plymouth Sutton and Deveonport tops the table, with Plymouth Moor View in third. Second place is occupied by Torbay. The report advises that Plymouth as a city is “more in need than anywhere else” in the region of levelling up.
The report states that Plymouth’s high ranking is in line with a trend for ‘high benefit dependency and low wages’ in coastal areas nationally. The report notes Plymouth comfortably underperforms the national average in terms of access to GPs, life expectancy, unemployment, crime, empty commercial properties, productivity, and deprivation. Plymouth Sutton and Devonport’s deprivation score is cited as 43% higher than the average for England and Wales, placing it in the top 10% of most deprived constituencies nationally. Approximately 18.6% of children in Plymouth live in poverty, with that number rising to more than half in some more deprived areas of the city.
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard said:
“This report is a real wake-up call. It’s one league table that we definitely didn’t want to be top of.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. We live in an incredible city with huge potential but to grasp the chance to change course we need Ministers to start funding us properly. We’ve known for a long time that Plymouth does not get its fair share of Government funding, and now this Pennon report illustrates just how damaging that has been over the long term.
“Levelling up is passing us by in the South West. The G7 may have seen pictures of beautiful beaches beamed around the world, but we are a region of contrasts: incredible natural landscapes and high levels of poverty, inventive people and hopeless transport links. I want to fix this and for that we need a proper plan for the south west and a demand from all our MPs – not just the Labour ones – for our fair share of funding.
“This report shows the cracks in our health and transport infrastructure, the shortfalls in our productivity and the collapse of our high street. Plymouth should be at the very front of the queue when it comes to levelling up and that means ensuring Government funding and attention doesn’t just go to marginal seats in the Midlands and the North.”
You can read Luke’s letter to Rishi Sunak in full at the top of the page.