MP Steve Rotheram calls for extra funding for deprived areas

Poor areas of the country should be given a special status and extra funding a Liverpool MP has said.

Labour MP for Walton, Steve Rotheram, said Special Urban Development Zones, should be given help such as tax breaks to help break the poverty cycle.

He argued, in the first reading of his bill, that parts of Liverpool had seen significant regeneration and other places had been "left to fester".

A "fresh approach" was needed he argued but problems were not insurmountable.

Mr Rotheram said that although parts of central and south Liverpool had witnessed significant regeneration under the last Labour government, the north of city still suffered from desperate poverty.

'Utterly false'

He said: "It's all very well to bang on about austerity measures but as I have pointed out repeatedly in this place, any economy which grows while concentrations of deprivation up and down the country are simply left to fester and rot is an utterly false, foolish, and precarious economy. It's also morally reprehensible."

He said that the problem in Liverpool was "disproportionately concentrated" due to a mix of factors such as low educational attainment, low skills and poor housing.

These and other factors had combined to make "a potent, self-perpetuating, cyclical cocktail of disadvantage and marginalisation".

'Holistic strategy'

Mr Rotheram said north Liverpool needed a "fresh, full-spectrum approach" to deal with the root causes of poverty.

He said that he picture was the same in different parts of the country.

He added designated zones would be "intelligently" configured according to statistics, while there would be a "clear and holistic strategy" with measurable targets to deal with deprivation.

Mr Rotheram acknowledged that his bill was unlikely to become law but that he hoped if enough people demanded change the government might be "embarrassed into action".

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