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British gov't launches new fund for struggling towns, criticized by Labor as "Brexit bribe"

(Xinhua)    08:12, March 05, 2019

LONDON, March 4 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday a 1.6 billion pound fund to boost prosperity of deprived towns after Brexit, a move criticized by the opposition Labour Party as a "bribe" to win votes for her Brexit deal.

The Stronger Towns Fund will be targeted at places that have not shared fairly from growth like more prosperous parts of the country have, and to create new jobs, help train local people and boost economic activity.

One billion pound will be allocated using a needs-based formula, with the bulk going to North and Midlands of England, and another 600 million pound will be available through a bidding process to communities in any part of the country.

"For too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread. Our economy has worked well for some places but we want it to work for all communities," May said.

"Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change, that must be a change for the better, with more opportunity and greater control. These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them," she said.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: "We have listened to people who are concerned by momentous changes to their communities and I am determined to provide the support they need to create a more prosperous future beyond Brexit."

But Britain's main opposition Labour Party described the fund as a "desperate bribe" by May's government to win support from Members of Parliament for her Brexit proposals.

The Labour Party's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation."

There is still no clear outcome for Brexit with Brexit day due on March 29.

May promised last week that the members of parliament would be offered a vote on whether they support a no-deal Brexit if her deal is rejected in a meaningful vote in mid-March. If the parliament rejects the no-deal option, another vote will be held on whether to delay Brexit.(One pound=1.32 U.S. dollars)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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