THIS WEEK I am delighted to report that we are to receive significant funding from the government for crucial local projects.

The first is the bypass at Dove Ford at Grizebeck. This has been the subject of consistent pressure over a very long time, by me, my predecessor, local residents, the County Council, and the A595 Action Group for far, far longer. It is beyond belief that the main A-road from Barrow to Sellafield is through a farmyard, so it was a great day when it was finally announced that the best part of £15million had been secured to deliver a safer and more reliable road, complete with a new crossing for vehicles and cyclists and more space for those walking and on bike. This will make journeys far safer and more reliable and is a practical demonstration of the Government ‘levelling up’ as promised.

In addition to this, it was fantastic to report on the same day that Barrow had won the full £25 million available in Town Deal funding from Government. We are one of the first places to benefit from this scheme, which will be truly transformational for the town. It includes plans – designed in consultation with local people – to deliver a university campus within Barrow, alongside a skills hub for sixth form students; renewal of some of Barrow’s existing housing stock, making it fit for the future; lays the groundwork for Marina Village; community hubs to strengthen and support our community; and improved infrastructure for cycling and walking.

In short, this funding – the kind of investment not seen during this generation – will start to turn the fortunes of Barrow around. Sitting on the Town Deal Board, chaired by Steve Cole from BAE, working with local leaders from business, the community and politics working towards securing this funding has been a wonderful experience. I am so glad for everyone that all of that work has paid off.

This week the Northern Research Group launched. This group consists of northern Conservative MPs like myself who want to bang the drum for the North, making sure that the Prime Minister’s promise to ‘level up’ communities like ours happens. I spoke about this group last week about Grizebeck and the Town Deal. These examples of levelling up are exactly what the group is there for, but they are just a start, and not an end of what we’re seeking for the north’s future.