Local MP furious at allocation of Government grants

A funding pot aimed at addressing inequality has brought mixed fortunes for local authorities.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 8:15 am
Rosie Cooper MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the Levelling Up Fund would invest in regeneration and work to boost growth in areas of low productivity and places in need.

Wigan has been placed in the top priority group, but neighbouring West Lancashire has been put in group two.

That has now drawn a furious response from West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, whose constituency includes towns such as Up Holland and Skelmersdale.

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She was particularly irate at the inclusion of a number of constituencies where the sitting MP is a minister in the highest-priority group, claiming some of them did not need the money and accusing the Conservatives of choosing according to political priorities.

Ms Cooper said: “It is an absolute disgrace that the Government have once again chosen to selfishly prioritise their own, often significantly better off areas, above places that truly require investment.

“West Lancashire struggles with endemic flooding issues, significantly underfunded public transport and the largest town has a non-existent night-time economy, yet the Government consider this a low priority area.

“I have asked the Government to publish their criteria for this decision, as the correct level of transparency will certainly expose the preferential treatment being given to certain areas.”

In total there are three priority groups for the Levelling Up Fund.

As well as Wigan, a number of Greater Manchester local authorities, including Salford, Manchester, Bolton and Bury, are in the highest-priority group.

Other post-industrial and North West towns, such as Blackpool and Wigan’s neighbouring borough of St Helens, are also in group one of the fund.

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