The government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda is all about giving areas that have previously been underfunded or overlooked opportunities to build a better future.

While the Isle of Wight is sometimes viewed as part of the south east, I constantly remind government we rarely see the wealth of the wider region, while our costs are often inflated by our separation by sea.

Levelling Up seems a fancy phrase for trying to spread economic development and wealth creation to as much of the country as much as possible, including here on the Island.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, ours is one of the most unequal countries in the G7 developed nations, which is scandalous. I want a better future for Islanders and the Island.

The council, with my support, has submitted a bid to the Levelling Up Fund centred around East Cowes.

If the East Cowes Marine hub bid is agreed, it will provide high-value design and engineering jobs and training opportunities. The bid proposes renovating the Barracks and the Columbine building while improving the Esplanade.

This is important for us, but it doesn’t end there. For me, levelling up means so much more than one bid.

The jobs agenda, for example, is closely tied to improving education, training and vocational courses. We need to get more Islanders over 18 entering higher education, bringing us closer to the national average.

Long-term regeneration is primarily linked to our county town, Newport, which has too many closed shops.

Focusing housebuilding, in sensitive numbers and for Islanders, on brownfield sites in Newport and in Newport Harbour, is critical to regenerating the town, attracting jobs and shops back to it, and supporting companies in its industrial estates.

Investing in our town centres is also critical to protecting our landscape.

Regeneration cannot mean low-density, out-of-town, greenfield development, which has already damaged the Island.

Regeneration of Newport and other town centres — and improvements in industry and education — must go hand-in-hand with protection of the countryside for its historic landscape, our quality of life and our visitor economy.

On that point, I was appalled to see another awful, car-dependent, low density, greenfield housing approved this week, Westridge, near Ryde.

We urgently need an Island plan in place to stop developers and their agents doing lasting damage to the Island. We need regeneration of our towns, not concreting over our greenfields.