Improving local shops "urgent issue" in Gainsborough

Almost a fifth of Gainsborough residents believe improving local shops is the most urgent issue in the town, according to a survey.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a levelling-up White Paper in the recent Queen's Speech.

The survey, by the think tank Demos, asked 20,000 adults in parliamentary constituencies across Great Britain to choose which one of nine issues most urgently needs improving in their local area.

In Gainsborough 18.3​ percent of residents chose good local shops, followed by good transport services (18.2 percent), and premises to support local jobs (13.8 percent).

The survey also asked people how happy they are with what is currently on offer in their area.

In Gainsborough, an estimated 27 percent of residents think that the provision of facilities they consider most important is nearer to 'bad' than 'good' – compared to the national average of 25 percent.

This mirrored the national picture, with the same three issues also the most pressing across Britain.

Demos said prioritising retailers was particularly prevalent in more built-up areas, while rural communities were more likely to see a lack of quality transport as a problem.

It comes as the Government is set to outline its plan to 'level up' the country, though anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said it must improve on its "piecemeal" attempts so far.

The think-tank has urged the Government to reflect on its research as it considers how best to spend the £4.8 billion earmarked for a levelling-up fund to reduce inequality across the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a levelling-up White Paper in the recent Queen's Speech – to be unveiled later this year – saying it would "turbocharge" economic recovery nationwide.

But the JRF said the Government has produced just "a series of piecemeal individual policies" so far and called on the legislation to address the long-term challenges facing parts of the UK.

Mike Hawking, head of policy and partnerships at the charity, added: "The Government has now promised levelling up will be about improving living standards, and it’s against this promise that they should be judged.

"The best way to do this is by boosting jobs and growing earnings in economically weaker parts of the country, and we look forward to seeing the Government bring forward plans to do this."