UK PM May promises $2.9b fund for Brexit-backing towns
LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May will set out plans for a £1.6 billion (S$2.9 billion) fund to help to boost economic growth in Brexit-supporting communities, particularly in the north of England.
The "Stronger Towns Fund", details of which appeared in newspapers last month, is seen by many as part of Mrs May's efforts to win support for her Brexit deal from opposition lawmakers who represent areas that voted strongly in favour of leaving the European Union.
Britain is due to leave the bloc at the end of this month and Mrs May, whose exit deal with Brussels was rejected by a large majority of lawmakers in January, has promised parliament will get to vote on a revised deal by March 12.
The government said the fund would be targeted at places that had not shared fairly in the country's prosperity and would be used to create new jobs, help to train people and boost economic activity.
"Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change; that must be a change for the better, with more opportunity and greater control," Mrs May said. "These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them."
The opposition Labour Party's finance spokesman, Mr John McDonnell, said the fund was "Brexit bribery". "This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing Members of Parliament to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation," he said in a statement. - REUTERS