Julie Elliott MP: Sunderland gets less than half the Government funding than London – and that must change

The Northern Spire Bridge. Picture by Chris Booth
The Northern Spire Bridge. Picture by Chris Booth
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It is time that Sunderland was put well and truly on the Government’s funding map – and that is what I am fighting for at both regional and national levels this month.

There is an ongoing and historic underfunding in industry, transport and education in our city, and across the North East. Our infrastructure is, at best, poor – and in many cases dreadful.

London receives more than double what we receive per head of the population and this inequality must be addressed as a priority – as highlighted by the Key Cities All-Party Parliamentary Group, of which I am a member, this week.

Sunderland needs, and deserves, to be placed on a sustainable footing with other cities – with shared prosperity. Young people growing up here should have the same opportunities as anywhere else.

It is vital that we make the Government understand how a fair share of funding is necessary to help Sunderland survive and thrive. Investment is key to our economic growth and future opportunities.

Ministers have it in their power to ensure that the worrying gap in prosperity is closed once and for all and I will continue to campaign for this essential funding to be distributed fairly.

The stark north/south divide in investment, infrastructure and economic growth will also be debated at an event I am chairing at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in Manchester next week.

I intend, as co-chair of the Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group, to continue to highlight how extra funding is vital to secure Sunderland a brighter future.

It is essential that there is a strong political voice for policies which support the northern economy. Our schools, transport links, businesses and health services all need investment.

Sunderland has much to be proud of, such as the new Northern Spire Bridge and the development of our Arts and Cultural Quarter. However, the Government can, and must, do more for our city.