Government must start proving it is going to give people the Brexit opportunities they voted for

Coun Simon Greaves, Bassetlaw Council leader
Coun Simon Greaves, Bassetlaw Council leader

People are beyond frustrated that, three years on, Britain still hasn’t left the EU, writes Coun Simon Greaves, Bassetlaw Council leader.

They are fed up of delays and excuses.

People knew what they were voting for and the fact that some decision-makers don’t want to listen is a Westminster problem, not one created by local people in Worksop.

Whether they voted leave or remain, people are sick and tired of false promises, posturing, positioning and the constant game-playing.

The fact is that in Worksop (compared to many areas) crime is lower, deprivation is lower and unemployment is lower.

Look at educational attainment and you will see that Worksop is in the top five per cent in the country.

Comparisons like this mean nothing though when you’re working all hours to make ends meet, without access to affordable childcare and support for your family.

As a former coalfield community, no-one wants to turn back the clock or reopen the pit - nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

People want to be empowered to move forward and to be given the same opportunities that are afforded to people living elsewhere.

The area had the stuffing knocked out of it when the pits were closed and for years afterwards people were fed a thin gruel of funding for redevelopment and infrastructure.

It was never enough, and everyone knew it.

The Government offering this area a minuscule amount of money in the run-up to a general election with promises of more jam tomorrow won’t cut it either.

We’ve been around the block too many times for that one.

Labour’s previous investment in health and education, steps to tackle child and in work poverty and introduce the minimum wage have been worth their weight in gold.

Politically, structurally, economically and financially, people feel that everything is rigged in favour of London, big business and vested interests and I fully agree with them.

When people say we live in a London-centric country they are absolutely right.

Our lower land values place us at an automatic disadvantage when it comes to securing Government / LEP funding for redevelopment.

The rules of the game mean there isn’t a level playing field.

We know it, the LEP’s know it, and Government knows it.

So what’s going to be done about it?

READ THIS: Bassetlaw MP says WTO Brexit is a bad idea for Britain.

Online businesses are paying proportionally less tax than high-street shops in Worksop.

So what’s going to change?

No one 'wants' to rely on a zero hours contract or to have employment rights stripped away from them post Brexit.

If the Government is serious about supporting families and helping people into work then what’s being done to make childcare more accessible and truly affordable?

And when is the Government going to get serious about supporting people to retrain for the jobs of the future?

This council's work on house building, tackling rough sleeping and tackling drug misuse in the town centre is truly ground-breaking.

Major cities have been lining up to learn from us, not the other way around.

So where is the genuine long- term funding going to be coming from to help town's like Worksop, or is the Government just going cut corporation tax instead?

The council's multi-million pound projects to improve the quality of town centre buildings and bringing more business to the high street have been hard-fought.

The council has the plans and the ambition and I sincerely hope the Government will back its recent bids to the Future High Street Fund and the Stronger Towns Fund.

This stuff isn’t rocket science. People don’t want hand outs, they just want the opportunities they are entitled to, with the chance of better paid more secure jobs for themselves and their children

I sincerely hope we’re going to see a genuine long-term commitment to level up the rest of the country and move away from a revolving door of short-term initiatives frustrated by meaningless bureaucracy.

When it comes to Brexit, local people have made their views loud and clear and have little patience for re-visiting the arguments of the past.

The local community and business are very clear about their ambitions for the future.

So when are we going to be supported locally with the funding and powers to turn ambition into reality?

Simon Greaves was responding to the findings of report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on post-Brexit priorities for low-income voters in deprived areas. You can read the report's findings here.