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Rishi Sunak tries to stop a red wall rebellion over leveling cash after being accused of forcing the council to put out a “begging bowl” to secure government funds.
The Prime Minister has traveled to the UK to promote a £2 billion investment in rural areas through a second round of Leveling Up Funds that pay eight-figure subsidies for specific infrastructure projects.
But lawmakers whose regions failed to secure the cash took a beating in the process. West Midlands mayor Andy Street, the local authority’s top Conservative party leader, complained that Whitehall officials have the final say on how local money is spent.
Secretary of State for Level Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has vowed to distribute another billions of pounds before the next elections, to see how the next round can improve. The bid failed to meet with the council – hopes of moving ministers will limit the impact from this week’s decision.
A government source said, “We will take inventory and look into unsuccessful bids with local authorities to see how they can approve them.”
As many as 500 municipalities are said to have submitted applications.
A Tory MP in a red-walled seat said he was “absolutely upset” by the refusal of part of a £2.1bn pot shared between 111 projects across Britain. Stated.the minister said Me He added that the response was “very choppy” and that he would “always keep his mouth shut during this kind of time.”
Allies of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson have urged Sunak to continue to level up at the government’s policy front after reports that ministers plan to downplay the idea. One said: If No 10 drops it, what are they going to have to trade for?” A spokesman for the former prime minister said, “Boris Johnson fully supports the government,” urging him on the issue. He insisted that he would not object to the succession of the
In the second round of funding, the North West of England received more funding than any other region, but Wales was the largest beneficiary per capita. However, the South East of England won more than Yorkshire, the North East or the West Midlands, but London also benefited from increased funding.
Sunak denied the bias when it emerged that the project was being funded in Richmond, a wealthy constituency, saying, “In fact, the criteria we use are very transparent. high,” he said. The government has claimed that civil servants, not ministers, selected all bids.
But Street is one of several local leaders who criticize the process, saying that local governments are encouraged to bid on specific projects rather than being allocated funds in advance and being able to decide how to spend them. I am forced. “Fundamentally, this episode is just another example of why Whitehall’s bidding and begging bowl culture is broken, and the sooner we decentralize and move to proper fiscal empowerment, the better. .
In the House of Commons, many Conservative MPs complained about the fundraising process. Bailey said her local council “worked really hard.”
Alex Norris, Workers’ Behind-the-Scenes Minister for Communities, said: “The cuts to local governments are in cash, not real, amounting to £15 billion over the last decade or so. £100 million will be returned, and we expect them to take 10 cents out of our wallets and thank us for giving us £2 back.”
The prime minister has endured a barrage of criticism as he embarked on a swift tour to Britain and sent ministers to discuss the leveling-up fund. Snack visited Accrington, Morecambe and Hartlepool to facilitate the towns’ planned fundraising. We used his private jet to travel between the three areas and return to 10 Downing Street in one day.
Asked why he did not use public transport at public events, the prime minister said: , of course. “
He then had to issue an embarrassing apology for releasing a video showing him sitting in the back seat of a car without a seatbelt. A spokesman said: “It was a simple error of judgment. The Prime Minister unfastened his seatbelt to film a short clip, which he fully acknowledges was a mistake and apologizes. ”
Mr Sunak then suggested that some of his own MPs calling for tax cuts in a time of high inflation, when Britain’s fiscal credibility has been called into question, are “idiots”. I saw. he said: You’re no fool, you know what happened. “
The Prime Minister defended Whitehall’s cash allocation during the tour, stating: of our country. “
But a poll released Thursday night suggests the public is skeptical about the impact of government policies on communities.Most voters said the situation had improved in recent years, according to YouGov. Only four municipalities believe that, 142 are expected to deteriorate, and the remaining 215 are expected to remain largely unchanged.