'Can we have a debate in government time on corruption in the operation of slush funds in this country'
The government’s levelling up fund, which forms a fundamental part of its flagship ‘levelling up agenda’, has been slammed as ‘completely corrupt’, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled the second allocation of his £2.1 billion levelling-up funding pot.
Since the latest round of money was announced, the government has been accused of pork-barrel politics, with Tory seats being afforded significantly more money per person from the government’s £4bn levelling up fund than areas with similar levels of deprivation.
Analysis by the Guardian has found that Tory seats have been awarded around £20 more per person than areas with similar levels of deprivation. Rishi 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.
Labour MP Chris Bryant has slammed the Levelling up fund as ‘completely corrupt’.
He told the Commons: “I also happen to think that the operation of the levelling up fund and the operation of the towns’ fund is completely corrupt because it’s not based on need, it’s not based on the poorest communities in the country, it’s not based on levelling up, it’s discretionary, and it’s competitive which rigs itself deliberately against the poorest communities in the land, as we’ve seen over the last 24 hours.
“So, can we have a debate in government time on corruption in the operation of slush funds in this country’.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward