How not to handle an announcement

13 March 2019

If the launch of a Stronger Towns Fund was meant to strengthen the Government ahead of a meaningful vote on the EU withdrawal bill, the early signs are that it hasn’t exactly gone to plan. You could go as far as to say it has been a masterclass in how not to handle a political announcement. What was supposed to be a good news story failed to attract almost a single positive headline.

How can an attempt to provide £1.6bn to ‘left-behind’ towns, which their MPs argue have been shamefully ignored for decades, land so badly? Part of the answer is timing: no matter how strongly ministers protest that the money would be there regardless of what happens on the meaningful vote in Parliament, the perception remains that this is a transparent attempt to buy MPs’ support. Accusations of pork barrel politics are never a good look.

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