Rishi Sunak gives his own constituency £19,000,000 of levelling up funding

Documents show the £19m will be used “to transform Catterick Garrison town centre” in his own constituency

Do we need any more evidence that the Tory levelling up agenda is nothing more than a sham, after the Prime Minister decided to dish out £19million of levelling up funding to his own wealthy constituency?

Sunak insists that yesterday’s allocation of his £2.1 billion levelling-up funding pot was done fairly, targeted at those most in need.

Documents show the £19m will be used “to transform Catterick Garrison town centre” in his own constituency, the Mirror reports.

They say: “This includes new routes for walking and cycling, a new town square, and a new community facility that will host new businesses and a community kitchen.”

Analysis by the Guardian has also found that Tory seats have been awarded around £20 more per person than areas with similar levels of deprivation. Sunak has also had to defend himself against allegations that the schemes which have been picked to benefit from the funds were chosen to shore up support in Tory areas.

Rather than levelling up, the Tory agenda is likely to further entrench existing inequalities and it’s something that has caused outrage among opposition MPs.

Last summer, Sunak was filmed boasting about taking money away from ‘deprived urban areas’ and handing it over to wealthy towns, as video footage emerged of him speaking to Tories in Tunbridge Wells.

The video, obtained by the New Statesman shows Sunak saying: “I managed to start changing the funding formulas to make sure that areas like this are getting the funding that they deserve because we inherited a bunch of formulas from the Labour Party that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone.

“I started the work of undoing that”.

So much for levelling up.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

(Picture credit: Chris McAndrew: Creative Commons)

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