Levelling-up Funds: Criteria

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – in the House of Commons at 2:37 pm on 27th June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Defence) 2:37 pm, 27th June 2022

What recent assessment he has made of the impartiality of criteria used to award levelling-up funds.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister for Equalities, Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The levelling-up fund targets money at those places that are most in need, using an index that includes metrics such as productivity, skills, unemployment and commercial vacancy rates. In round 1 of the fund, over half the money allocated went to the 20% most deprived local authorities.

Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Defence)

I thank the Secretary of State for visiting Barnsley East to meet the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to discuss its regeneration proposals. He will have seen from his visit how, by every measure, Barnsley is deserving of levelling-up funding, so despite our previous two bids being rejected, will he consider Barnsley in the upcoming round?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister for Equalities, Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The hon. Lady will know that the allocation is a completely transparent process. If she wants to find out more about the help sessions for local authorities, we can provide information on how they can improve their bids.

Photo of Tom Hunt Tom Hunt Conservative, Ipswich

It is likely that Ipswich is going to be connected to two levelling-up bids, one from the county council and one from the borough council. Does the Minister agree that investing in sports opportunities for young people, particularly in deprived areas, can be transformative for levelling up, and will she therefore welcome our plans to transform Gainsborough sports and community centre? Will she confirm that the civil servants will work as quickly as possible so that my constituents can see results on the ground, like with the towns fund, where the civil servants are currently reviewing the business cases?

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The recent report from the Public Accounts Committee was a huge blow to the way in which the Government are seeking to level up and it exposed once again the debilitating impact of beauty parades and unclear allocation criteria. If the Secretary of State thinks that was praise, then goodness me! This can be resolved in future by the Government accepting our calls for proper, sustained funding that is targeted at need. Therefore, to make sure that we are never in this situation again, will the Minister commit to accepting amendment 13 to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which will start this process?