Island MP Bob Seely appeared during Prime Minister’s Question Time today to ask the PM to make a statement on progress with delivering a better deal for the Island.
Since his first election as the Island’s MP in 2017, Mr Seely has been seeking a fairer funding formula for the Isle of Wight Council which would include the Government allocating more money to the Island to spend on public services.
Mr Seely tabled a question to the PM asking: “What recent progress he has made on bringing forward proposals for an island deal for the Isle of Wight; and if he will make a statement?”
The PM responded by saying: “I thank my honourable friend who is an excellent champion for the Isle of Wight and I know there is ongoing discussion between the Isle of Wight and the Department for Levelling Up about the unique circumstances of the Island including the discussions about the possibility of a county deal.”
In February 2021 the Government announced it would allocate £50,000 ‘to review the challenges faced by the council, residents and businesses on the Island’.
Today, the Island’s MP asked the PM to commit to the findings of the report, by posing the following question: “Will the Government accept the findings of the independent study that it itself commissioned this summer into a long-term fair funding settlement for the Island, the final calculations of which are due imminently, and in doing so will he help me to right a wrong which has been ongoing now for the Island, for my constituents, for some six decades?”
Responding to Mr Seely’s supplementary question in the Commons today, Mr Johnson said: “It is not easy to breakdown the costs that apply to the service delivery on the Island, but I know the department is carefully considering the details of the study he mentions and I’m sure the relevant minister will keep him updated.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr Seely said: “Today I reminded the Prime Minister of the need for a better deal for the Isle of Wight as part of my ongoing campaign. I am pleased that the Prime Minister acknowledges our unique circumstances, and I will continue my talks with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities about the findings of the study commissioned by the Government.
“The Prime Minister knows, because I have told him, this deal is important to the Island.
“I am pleased to say that in many areas we are already getting a better deal. We have already secured millions for our railway, we have capital investment in our hospital, and we have money to secure jobs and upgrade the public realm in East Cowes, but there is always more to do.
“We need a better deal for our public services which includes both our council and our uniquely small hospital. The recognition of our unique circumstances needs to be backed up with financial investment."