Politics

Why are people accusing Rishi Sunak of 'favouritism'?

Keir Starmer clashes with Rishi Sunak over NHS ‘chaos’ at PMQs

Rishi Sunak is being accused of "favouritism" after giving his constituency £19m of funding in a new round of levelling up.

The PM's Richmond constituency in North Yorkshire, will receive money to regenerate Catterick Garrison, a small army town as one of 100 projects awarded a share of the £2.1bn package.

But people are peeved because Labour analysis shows that London, which gets £151m, is getting more than both Yorkshire (£121m) and the north-east (£108m), while the south-east (£210m) is getting twice as much as the north-east.

Meanwhile, the biggest regional recipient is the north-west, which receives £350m of the funding pot, and is where the Conservatives aren't performing great with votes.

The analysis also suggests that of 151 local authority areas, only eight have not experienced real-terms cuts since 2018 even when levelling up funds, including those just announced, are factored in. The other 143 have still had real-terms cuts, the Guardian reports.

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Responding to criticism, Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, said: “We are firing the starting gun on more than a hundred transformational projects in every corner of the UK that will revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential.

“This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. We are delivering on the people’s priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you.”

Nevertheless, Labour MPs were not best pleased:

Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy described the allocations system as a “Hunger Games-style contest” that pitted communities against one another and where Whitehall ministers picked winners and losers from the funding bids.

“The levelling up fund is in chaos, beset by delays and allegations of favouritism – 15 months after the first round of allocations, just 5 per cent of the money has made it to the communities who were promised it,” she said.

“It takes an extraordinary arrogance to expect us to be grateful for a partial refund on the money they have stripped out of our communities, which has decimated vital local services like childcare, buses and social care.”

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