OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has reacted to the findings of a report by EY and the Centre for Towns with regret. The joint report focuses on levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in our towns and cities, and it finds that ex-industrial towns like Oldham saw a 50% decrease in manufacturing FDI in 2018. Ex-industrial towns are disproportionately reliant on manufacturing projects, so a decline in the number of manufacturing projects attracted by the UK hits those towns harder.
Jim McMahon MP said, “This report shows that our towns need significant investment to balance the scales. Core cities across the UK continue to suck in foreign investment whilst investment in our towns continues to dry up. Despite the vast sums of money going into our cities there is little sign of this spilling over the borders into surrounding towns.”
He continued “The Core Cities programme has clearly been successful in attracting FDI to cities, whilst outlying towns and communities have seen investment flatline over the last twenty years. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work for people, it’s unrealistic to expect it to work for our towns and cities.”
“The report is entirely right in its four-point policy agenda for towns; bottom up decision-making through greater devolution, a reworking of the industrial and digital strategies to put place first, significant infrastructure investment by improving regional transport links and broadband, and an integrated towns strategy. Those four items are crucial, and they must be all be done together.”
“This is an issue we can deal with, if we devolve further and allow local people to make the decisions on industrial and digital strategies, if we invest in physical and digital infrastructure and we plan properly by incorporating economic, social and cultural aspects we can make our towns attractive. If people want to live, work and enjoy themselves in our towns they will thrive.”