Levelling Up Announcement 'Rehashed' And 'Small Beer', Says Labour

Lisa Nandy accuses government of having "handed a few local areas a fiver and nicked a tenner".
Shadow Foreign secretary Lisa Nandy speaks on stage at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Monday September 27, 2021.
Shadow Foreign secretary Lisa Nandy speaks on stage at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Monday September 27, 2021.
Gareth Fuller via PA Wire/PA Images

Labour has accused the government of having “handed a few local areas a fiver and nicked a tenner”, after it announced long-awaited details of its so-called levelling up agenda.

Wolverhampton and Sheffield will be the first of 20 areas selected to benefit from a “radical new regeneration programme” launched by Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The chosen locations will be prioritised for a £1.5bn Brownfield Fund made available from April 2022.

It comes from a £1.8bn pot of money for regeneration promised by chancellor Rishi Sunak at the last Budget

Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, said the cash was “very small beer” and was just a “rehashed” announcement that had already been made.

“Instead of delivering good jobs in every part of Britain, the prime minister is hopelessly distracted trying to save his own skin,” she said.

“It simply will not be good enough to give us more of the same – pots of our money to scrap over, without real power over what it’s spent on.

“We need good jobs, decent wages, genuinely affordable housing and action to deal with the unfolding cost of living crisis so people can spend in their local economy and young people no longer have to get out to get on.

“Instead, they’ve handed a few local areas a fiver and nicked a tenner.”

Defending his Levelling Up White Paper earlier, Gove said the “huge investment” in infrastructure and regeneration would “spread opportunity more evenly and help to reverse the geographical inequalities which still exist in the UK”.

A separate £1.5bn Levelling Up Home Building Fund will also be launched next week. The money for this fund was first announced in 2020.

It will provide loans to small and medium-sized builders and developers to deliver 42,000 homes, with the vast majority going outside London and the South East.

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