Lubov Chernukhin, who has given more than £2million to the party.
The Tories like to harp on about levelling up, yet once again their actions speak louder than their words and they show just what a sham the entire project is.
Around £150,000 of levelling up funding from Boris Johnson’s flagship levelling up towns fund was awarded to an amusement centre launched by the Conservative donor Lubov Chernukhin, who has given more than £2million to the party.
Chernukhin, the wife of a former Putin minister, is also previously reported to have been on a secret advisory board to the Conservative Party. She is married to Putin’s former deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin.
Lubov Chernukhin co-founded the Owens entertainment centre in Hastings, East Sussex, along with an entertainment entrepreneur, Graham Owen, and has been a director of C&O Entertainment since February this year.
The Guardian reports: “The Owens entertainment centre received £150,000 from the government’s towns fund in October after a tender process, through a company called C&O Entertainment. A further £250,000 went to the developer behind the refurbishment of the former Debenhams building in the seaside town.”
The amusement centre includes several restaurants, a bowling alley and virtual reality rides.
The Guardian cites a spokesperson for Chernukhin as saying: “Owens Entertainment was opened with a vision to revive the British high street and stimulate local economies through the establishment of family-orientated entertainment centres”, with an estimated 100,000 visitors since launch.
They also said that the centre had provided jobs by hiring 45 contracted staff members and space for four concession holders.
The latest revelations on levelling up funds will once more raise concerns about whether funds are actually going to where they are needed most.
Previously Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave his own affluent constituency £19million of levelling up funding.
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.
So much for Tory levelling up.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward