Formally launching his Levelling Up Fund bid to tackle health inequalities in Bradford East, Imran Hussain MP has told Ministers that they cannot prove they’re serious about their levelling up agenda without backing his bid.
The bid, spearheaded by Imran’s work in tackling health, educational and economic inequalities in Bradford East, has been developed jointly from the ground up as a grassroots initiative with the Karmand Centre, Inspired Neighbourhoods and Bradford Trident, and sets out plans to invest £20 million of Government funding in building three new state-of-the-art community hubs across the constituency.
These hubs at the existing Karmand Centre site, the Greenwood Centre and Parkside Sports Centre will work together to deliver a “community-based integrated approach to deprivation and health challenges” that blight Bradford East, with each project offering solutions tailored to the specific needs of their local residents informed by engagement with these same residents rather than imposing top-down solutions as is the case with other Levelling Up Fund bids submitted across the country.
As a result, Imran’s bid is one of the few truly grassroots projects put forward, reflecting the MP’s strong belief that projects to tackle deprivation and disadvantage must be led by the communities that will benefit from the projects in order to deliver any real benefits. This approach was recently demonstrated during the Coronavirus Pandemic, with institutions including Bradford Council, the NHS and others turning to the Karmand Centre, Inspired Neighbourhoods and Bradford Trident to deliver projects in their communities.
With the rising cost of living threatening to drag even more families in Bradford into poverty and creating further pockets of greater deprivation in the city, Imran’s bid for £20m of Government funding to deliver these community-led projects could also not be more timely. Whilst tackling health inequalities is already an urgent priority with inner-city residents already living up to a decade less than those in more affluent areas of Bradford and facing higher rates of preventable diseases, the predicted explosion in poverty which helps increase health inequalities will see the situation gravely worsen.
Speaking on his levelling up bid to tackle health inequalities in Bradford, Imran said:
“Ever since the last General Election, the Government have been promising us over and over that they’re committed to ‘levelling up’ left behind regions like Bradford East where people face high levels of inequality and deprivation. Yet almost three years later, my constituents have yet to see any real tangible benefits of this agenda as Ministers fail to live up to their promises.
“As a consequence of this failure over the last three years to level us up as promised, health inequalities in Bradford East have continued to grow, bringing with it rising economic and educational inequalities too. This holds us back from achieving our full potential as one of the youngest and most promising cities in the country, and traps people in poverty and deprivation from which they struggle to escape.
“If the Government truly are serious about levelling up and committed to tackling the inequalities that people face, then they must prove it with actions and not words by backing my bid to deliver the £20 million needed for these truly transformational projects. If not, it will just be another promise made by a Tory Government that is more committed to holding people back than levelling them up.”