Red wall loses out in 'Hunger games-style contest' as southeast favoured for levelling up fund cash

18 January 2023, 22:50 | Updated: 17 May 2023, 09:35

Rishi Sunak has reiterated his commitment to levelling up
Rishi Sunak has reiterated his commitment to levelling up. Picture: Alamy/Eden Project North

By Kit Heren

MPs have accused Rishi Sunak of “making a mockery” of levelling up and favouring the south after new funding was announced.

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More than 100 projects across the UK are set for a boost after the Government announced £2 billion in levelling up funding.

The latest round of funding will deliver much-needed economic growth and new jobs to communities across the country, the Department for Levelling Up said.

However, the southeast is being handed more regeneration money than the northeast, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

Tory MPs who missed out have accused Mr Sunak of favouring the south as a result.

One Tory MP in the northwest said the Government had made a "mockery" of levelling up, adding: "A Government that U-turned on a minister for the north is delivering for the south once again."

Another Tory MP said: "People are apoplectic. There are some really wealthy areas on the list. It looks awful.

"It’s gone down terribly among red wall MPs."

Labour accused the Government of presiding over a "Hunger Games-style contest where communities are pitted against one another".

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It is part of Rishi Sunak&squot;s promise to "build a future of optimism".
It is part of Rishi Sunak's promise to "build a future of optimism". Picture: Alamy

Among the projects earmarked for funding is the Eden Project North in Morecambe, which received £50 million for the regeneration project designed to transform the Lancashire town's seafront.

The Cardiff Crossrail plan was also allocated £50 million, while the department said that a new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle in the Shetlands would get nearly £27 million.

The Government said that £2.1 billion in funding had been split between £672 million to develop better transport links, £821 million for community regeneration, and £594 million to go towards restoring local heritage sites.

Among the projects earmarked for funding is the Eden Project North
Among the projects earmarked for funding is the Eden Project North. Picture: Eden Project North

Mr Sunak said: "Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.

"That's why we are backing more than 100 projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities across the United Kingdom.

"By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people's lives and the places they call home."

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the support would see the Government "firing the start gun" on a range of projects.

"This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride," he said.

"We are delivering on the people's priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you."

The site of the proposed Eden Project North
The site of the proposed Eden Project North. Picture: Alamy

Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, offered a scathing assessment of the fund as she accused the Government of "extraordinary arrogance".

"The Levelling Up Fund is in chaos, beset by delays and allegations of favouritism," the Labour frontbencher said.

"It takes an extraordinary arrogance to expect us to be grateful for a partial refund on the money they have stripped out of our communities, which has decimated vital local services like childcare, buses and social care.

"It is time to end this Hunger Games-style contest where communities are pitted against one another and Whitehall ministers pick winners and losers."

The full list of projects that received funding:


Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

£10,243,422

Over £10 million will go on a new outdoor activity park in Barnsley, as well as revamping a youth centre in the town. This money will also be spent on a new music facility for young people and will help further develop Barnsley Civic arts centre.

Kirklees Council

£12,003,148

£12 million will be handed to Batley to help regenerate the town centre. These improvements include pedestrianisation of Commercial Street, improvements to Market Place, providing better access around the town centre, and restoring the JBM Building for public use, supporting enterprise and access to jobs.

North East Lincolnshire Council

£18,412,039

North East Lincolnshire will be awarded over £18 million for a transformational regeneration of Cleethorpes seafront. This includes rejuvenating Cleethorpes' historic market square and regenerating Pier Gardens.

North Lincolnshire Borough Council

£19,703,042

Barton will receive almost £20 million for transport improvements around the town. The changes include improvements to the A1077 to alleviate congestion in the town centre, 14km of new cycle lanes, and mass improvements to the railway station including new cycle parking, an extension of the car park, and bus shelter upgrades.

Richmondshire District Council

£19,008,679

Richmondshire will receive £19 million to transform Catterick Garrison town centre. 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.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

£41,248,832

A huge investment of over £41 million for West Yorkshire will deliver improvements to bus services in the region. Improvements include safer and more accessible bus stops and bus stations, and better highways to improve journey times.

Borough of Telford and Wrekin

£20,000,000

£20 million will remodel the Palace Theatre in Telford to deliver a rich cultural programme for local people as well as improve the Sixth Form College to encourage more young people into higher education.

Herefordshire Council

£19,990,449

Hereford will receive £19.9 million to boost local people’s use of public transport with better cycle lanes, improved station facilities and new safety measures for pedestrians.

Malvern Hills District Council

£19,941,040

An outdoor theatre and new studio spaces will level up access to the arts in Malvern with a £19.9 million funding injection, improving opportunities for young people and attracting 135,000 visitors.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

£20,000,000

A new leisure centre in Rowley Regis will replace the old Haden Hill Leisure Centre with £20 million in a huge boost the local area that will revive sport and leisure facilities.

Shropshire Council

£18,701,269

£18.7 million will accelerate the regeneration of brownfield land into a new waterside development in Shrewsbury. Better transport links into the local rail station will ensure this project benefits the entire area.

Staffordshire County Council

£19,836,184

£19.8 million will kickstart major road works in Staffordshire, including the A38 and A511, to unlock housing and improve bus lanes and journey times.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

£17,110,892

Our £17.1 million investment will modernise Leek’s Victorian market halls, upgrade the local library, museum and exhibition space, and build a new swimming pool.

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

£20,000,000

£20 million will kickstart the delivery of over 500 new homes connecting local people in Willenhall to jobs, parks and new rail station. This is part of the area’s £210 million regeneration plans.

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

£9,360,000

In Blaenau Gwent, a new engineering campus for 600 young people will be built using £9 million funding. It will offer the next generation of engineers an extensive programme of apprenticeships and industry placements in the area.

Bridgend County Borough Council

£17,998,316

£18 million to transform the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, one of the most recognisable buildings in South Wales, which has deteriorated after years of piecemeal refurbishments.

Caerphilly County Borough Council

£20,000,000

Building a state of the art leisure centre in Caerphilly with £20 million, including a new gym and swimming pool.

Cardiff Council

£50,000,000

£50 million for Crossrail Cardiff. This will help deliver a new line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central Station, improving travel for thousands of people who travel daily between the stations.

City and County of Swansea

£20,000,000

£20 million will restore and regenerate three industry heritage sites in the Lower Swansea Valley. This includes the Morfa Copperworks and will create new shops, restaurants and market places, and a major upgrade to Swansea Museum.

Conwy County Borough Council

£18,620,484

A safe and direct cycle route will be created between Llandudno Junction and Betws y Coed via the Conwy Valley with an £18.6 million grant. The scheme will also include measures to mitigate against flooding.

Denbighshire County Council

£10,955,908

Denbighshire will receive £11 million to restore the historic monuments in Ruthin, including St Peter’s Church and the town square.

Gwynedd Council £18,830,189

In Gwynedd, £18.8 million will upgrade walking and cycling routes for the National Slate Museum and the Neuadd Ogwen arts centre.

Isle of Anglesey County Council

£17,047,505

There is £17 million for building new walkways and cycle paths to bring people closer together in Holyhead and enable visitors and local people to explore the stunning sites of St Cybi’s Church and the Roman Fort.

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

£17,755,359

£17.8 million will restore the historic estate in the Vale of Neath and build new walkways and cycle paths.

Torfaen County Borough Council

£7,607,805

The £7.6 million Pontypool Cultural Hub project in Torfaen will transform derelict buildings into a thriving cultural centre with a new restaurant to boost the night-time economy.

BCP Council £18,159,731

£18.2 million for a transformation project that will revitalise the Bournemouth and Poole seafront with better, modernised facilities along the promenade, as well as building a community water sports hub

Bristol City Council

£14,536,470

£14.5 million in Bristol for a project to provide new high quality housing, community and business space at Filwood Broadway and investment in the community centre and outdoor recreation areas

Cornwall Council

£49,995,000

Nearly £50 million to create a direct train service linking Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth alongside better walking and cycling access to stations

Devon County Council

£15,765,899

Almost £16 million for projects that will extend Dinan Way and improve the Exmouth Gateway transport hub, along with delivering better cycling routes and footpaths, to help reduce congestion and improve journey times

Dorset Council

£19,468,083

£19 million for enabling works at Weymouth harbour side, to pave the way for nearly 400 new homes and a new leisure-led waterfront complex

North Somerset Council

£19,979,570

Nearly £20 million to transform Weston-super-Mare, with new visitor attractions at heritage sites to encourage tourism and improvements to the town centre with better retail opportunities for local businesses

Sedgemoor District Council

£19,715,940

In Somerset, £19.7 million will repurpose a former hospital in Bridgwater and an empty public building in Minehead to create a new academy training up vital health and social care staff

Torridge District Council

£15,587,980

£15.6 million for the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre in North Devon which will research green technology and work with local universities and private companies to bring investment and directly create nearly 100 high skilled jobs

West Devon Borough Council

£13,455,000

In Devon, there will be £13.5 million for a new railway station on the eastern edge of Okehampton - the West Devon Transport Hub - complete with high quality cycle facilities and EV charging points on site to better connect communities and promote active travel

Canterbury City Council

£19,905,911

£19.9 million to reopen Canterbury Castle, improve historic sites including Clock Tower Square and Poor Priests’ Hospital, build better green spaces and create new walking and cycling routes.

Dover District Council

£18,121,647

A project to build on brownfield land in Dover will receive over £18 million for a new campus offering training opportunities in creative and digital industries, unlocking new job opportunities for the region.

Kent County Council

£45,000,000

£45 million for Dover to improve the flow of traffic from the UK to the EU, with more border control points and a new exit route to help the port operate more efficiently and reduce congestion on local roads.

Reading Borough Council

£19,164,000

£19.1 million to transform the much-loved Hexagon Theatre and build a new modern library in Reading.

Rother District Council

£19,192,000

More than £19 million for the regeneration of Bexhill with improved access to the De La Warr Pavilion as well as the creation of a community hub in the heart of Sidley.

Rushmoor Borough Council

£20,000,000 A state-of-the-art leisure centre, library and cultural space in Farnborough will receive £20 million to help tackle high levels of obesity, inactivity, and poor mental health in the surrounding areas.

Slough Borough Council

£9,292,149

£9.2 million to transform the Farnham Road (A355) to better serve pedestrians, cyclists and drivers with faster access for buses to improve journey times.

Southampton City Council

£20,000,000

£20 million to upgrade the athletics centre and create a new sports pitch at the Outdoor Sports Centre in Southampton to improve take up of sport and exercise activities.

Swale Borough Council

£20,000,000

£20 million to transform Sheerness town centre by turning the Beachfields seafront into a community hotspot including a new café, outdoor gym, soft play and adventure golf areas. Funding will also expand the further education college and make space for new offices and studios for local small businesses.

The District Council of Folkestone and Hythe

£19,791,819

A major overhaul of Folkstone’s town centre with £19.7 million to improve shopping areas, an upgraded bus station and a new public green space to encourage businesses and visitors into the area.

Aberdeenshire Council

£20,000,000

In Aberdeenshire, £20 million will transform Peterhead’s disused Arbuthnot House into a new museum, library and cultural hub, while the popular marine aquarium in Macduff will be modernised and expanded.

Dumfries and Galloway Council

£17,698,660

Almost £18 million will help Dumfries and Galloway turn redundant spaces and buildings into exciting new cultural and leisure opportunities.

Dundee City Council

£14,400,000

In Dundee, £14 million will go towards redeveloping a dated multi-storey car park into a sustainable transport hub, creating 350 electrical vehicle charging points, car share spaces, and an e-bike hire scheme.

East Ayrshire Council

£20,000,000

There is £20 million to fund the refurbishment of 163-year-old Palace Theatre and Grand Hall, and a new park near the town square in Kilmarnock.

East Lothian Council

£11,267,841

In East Lothian, nearly £11.3 million of funding will help free up land at a former coal fired power station for future, green regeneration.

Fife Council

£19,410,000

More than £19.4 million to accelerate the regeneration of Riverside Park in Fife and improve access to the River Leven with new walking routes.

Inverclyde Council

£19,390,000

Nearly £20 million will help demolish and reroute the A78 dual carriageway to reconnect and transform Greenock town centre into a modern, vibrant hub based around public squares and green spaces.

North Lanarkshire Council

£9,225,000

In Cumbernauld, more than £9 million will support the demolition and regeneration of two failing shopping centres and a vacant office block, helping to bring education, employment and homes into the heart of North Lanarkshire's largest town.

Shetland Islands Council

£26,762,313

Nearly £27 million has been guaranteed for a new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle. The service is a lifeline for the island, supporting its residents, visitors and supply chains, and without its replacement the community will become further isolated.

Stirling Council

£19,052,300

In Stirling, more than £19 million will go towards the regeneration of the Forthside area, helping to create 1,000 new jobs.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

£3,573,604

£3.5 million to support the expansion and upgrade of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge. Funding will help the gallery realise its potential as an internationally renowned cultural space.

Bangor Marine Limited

£9,829,424

The city of Bangor will undergo a huge £9.8 million transformation to create new waterfront gardens with spaces for events and activities, as well as helping to unlock the wider regeneration of the area

Belfast City Council

£4,094,000

Belfast’s beloved art-deco Strand Picturehouse will be rescued with £4 million to fund urgent works, preserving and showcasing Northern Ireland’s cinema heritage, creating a multi-functional arts space for East Belfast.

Belfast International Airport Limited

£2,327,928

Belfast International Airport will receive £2.3 million to purchase electric buses and deliver new sustainable fuel sources These changes will have significant benefits for both international travellers and local people with better air quality and reduced noise.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

£8,142,850

The community of Ballycastle can now look forward to the development of a new leisure centre with £8.1 million to support health and wellbeing across the borough.

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council

£20,000,000

A leisure and wellbeing centre will be created in Enniskillen with £20 million as part of a new development called ‘Lakeland’, which will provide a wide range of indoor and outdoor leisure and recreation facilities incorporating the surrounding park, waterside, and the Lough Erne

Mid and East Antrim Council

£6,100,018

Over £6 million to re-invigorate the 191-acre Carnfunnock Country Park with an upgraded visitor centre and sporting facilities.

Mid Ulster District Council

£9,058,971

Maghera is set to benefit from new green space and recreational facilities thanks to a £9 million grant. The money will also go towards transforming the former Maghera High School into a new industrial park to boost local business.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council

£2,820,555

A new first-class leisure and recreation centre at Camlough Lake will be built with £2.8 million, along with improved parking facilities and picnic areas and better walking and driving routes.

The Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union

£5,125,023

Grants include a £5.1 million boost for 20 local rugby clubs, including new female changing rooms to help increase women’s participation in sport across Northern Ireland.

Allerdale Borough Council

£9,586,777

Almost £10 million will drive improvements along Workington’s highways and cycle routes to better connect the town to the Port, improving access for local workers.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

£20,000,000

£20 million invested in Blackburn’s infrastructure to tackle congestion and give local people more, better options to walk and cycle around the city.

Blackpool Borough Council

£40,000,000

A new carbon neutral university campus in Blackpool, with a £40 million investment, placing the Talbot Gateway at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence and robotics learning  

Cheshire West and Chester Council

£13,378,478 Over £13 million will build new cycle links and walkways in Ellesmere Port and upgrade the market hall with a new children’s play area and a Changing Places toilets to enable people with disabilities to live more independent lives in the community

Copeland Borough Council

£20,000,000

In Copeland £20 million funding will drive industrial development, helping grow emerging industries in the area.

Cumbria County Council

£17,826,697

Close to £18 million in Cumbria will upgrade 30 km of the highway network and repair 21 bridges which serve communities along the Irish Sea coast, bringing local communities closer together

Hyndburn Borough Council

£20,000,000

Accrington’s Town Square will get a new lease of life with £20 million funding to bring several buildings back into use, including the historic Market Hall which will be transformed into a modern food hall.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

£15,356,140

Over £15 million to improve transport, sporting and leisure facilities for Halewood as they expand their District Centre and grow the local economy.

Lancashire County Council

£49,602,741

Almost £50m for three projects to greener, safer travel for local people

Lancaster City Council

£50,000,000

£50 million to transform Morecambe’s seafront into an Eden by the Bay, inspiring a sense of wonder in the natural world and drawing thousands of new visitors to the bustling seaside resort every year.   

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

£20,000,000

Oldham receives a £20 million boost in its ambition to become a top destination for green businesses by creating new spaces for green businesses and a new Learning Centre offering vocational courses to strengthen environmental skills.

Preston City Council

£20,000,000

£20 million will regenerate Preston’s parks, providing better green spaces for local people to come together to exercise and socialise. 

St Helens Borough Council

£20,000,000

A £20 million boost for Earlestown’s historic market square to reimagine the derelict Town Hall as a new hub and workspace for the whole community.

Trafford Borough Council

£18,276,313

In Trafford, Partington Sports Village will be redeveloped with £18 million funding to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the local community.

Wigan Council

£20,000,000

£20 million to restore Haigh Hall which has stood at the heart of Wigan’s history for 900 years.

Hartlepool Borough Council

£16,453,891

A new Production Village for Hartlepool with over £16 million, providing new jobs and opportunities in the creative industries and boosting the local economy.

North East Combined Authority

£19,597,261

£19.5 million of funding will deliver a fleet of 52 electric buses, 26 rapid chargers and 92 electric vehicle chargers across the North East in a huge boost for the region’s zero-carbon economy.

Northumberland County Council

£14,712,547

Between Hexham and Bedlington, almost £15 million will build new, high quality cycling and pedestrian lanes to give people better, greener routes to work, major transport hubs and tourist attractions.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

£19,999,859

£20 million investment in the Newham Grange highway scheme will unlock 800 homes in Middlesbrough, while new pedestrian and cycle tracks will better connect Guisborough town centre to Teesworks and the North York Moors National Park.

Tees Valley Combined Authority

£17,784,924

Almost £18 million funding will deliver over 15km of new, high-quality cycling and walking routes across the Tees Valley, connecting communities to employment, training and education.

The Borough Council of Gateshead

£20,000,000

£20 million to help build a brand new arena, world class Exhibition Centre, hotels, bars, restaurants and walkways at Gateshead Quays which will create thousands of jobs and generate over £40 million for the local economy every year.

Greater London Authority

£43,166,006

£43 million to make Leyton and Colindale Underground stations step-free in East London, improving two pockets of socio-economic deprivation in the capital

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

£10,883,068

Barking and Dagenham will receive £10m to deliver 316 new homes, protect 241 jobs and reduce crime

London Borough of Camden

£7,744,517

London Borough of Camden to receive £7 million to help health inequalities with cycling and walking infrastructure and local GP services

London Borough of Hackney

£19,045,400

£19 million for renovating public spaces in Hackney Central, such as the iconic Town Hall Square, as well as new creative workspace and upgrades to the Hackney Central Library.

London Borough of Haringey

£20,000,000

Funds to help revitalise the Selby Centre in North Tottenham from a 1970s secondary school building to a community hub including new homes for Haringey and sports and revamping Bull Lane playing fields

London Borough of Lewisham

£19,061,696

Over £19 million of levelling up funding will revitalise the Lewisham’s marketplace, create a flagship Culture and Business Hub, and connect the town with better, safer walking and cycling routes.

London Borough of Sutton

£14,121,979

Over £14 million will double the frequency of trains to Belmont, where we will see Europe’s leading oncology district grow in the coming years

London Borough of Waltham Forest

£17,244,008

Over £17 million in levelling up funding will bring restore and reimagine underused buildings in Walthamstow to offer new cultural and educational opportunities to disadvantaged communities.

Ashfield District Council

£3,100,000

In Sutton-In-Ashfield, £3.1 million will help transform a Victorian underground reservoir into a science discovery centre and state-of-the-art planetarium. This will inspire the next generation of astronomers and encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bassetlaw District Council

£17,968,565

Almost £18 million to transform Worksop Town Centre, funding will create a new leisure facility with ten pin bowling and soft play. The works will also create a new towpath link along Chesterfield canal

Boston Borough Council

£14,846,596

£14 million will be given to The Rosegarth Square Masterplan to create a new urban park in the heart of Boston to boost resident's health and wellbeing

Broxtowe Borough Council

£16,539,214

£16.5 million to make town centre improvements in Kimberley, including transforming the Bennerley Viaduct, creating step-free access to the viaduct and boosting the cycle path network in the region.

City of Lincoln Council

£20,000,000

£20 million to build two bridges in Lincoln to run across the East Midlands Railway track. This will provide an essential direct route for hundreds of households to the city centre and ease traffic congestion. The Western Growth Corridor will also include 3200 homes and space for retail and other businesses

Derby City Council

£20,000,000

£20 million towards a new ‘Learning Theatre’ to be built in the heart of Derby’s city centre, allowing the university students to work and perform at the former historic Assembly Rooms.

Derbyshire Dales District Council

£13,373,509

£13.3 million for the Ashbourne Reborn project in the Derbyshire Dales to transform the town centre

East Lindsey District Council

£8,091,774

In East Lindsey, £8 million will save three of the Lincolnshire Wolds’ most at-risk heritage and cultural sites. This includes Alford Manor House, a Grade II listed building which will be brought back to life as part of a community visitor complex and Alford’s only remaining windmill, which will be brought back into commercial use as part of a community complex.

Mansfield District Council

£20,000,000

£20 million will transform the disused Mansfield department store Beales into office space and a civic hub

Rutland County Council

£22,950,690

£22 million for a new outdoor food market and event space in iconic food town, Melton Mowbray and updating of the Rutland County Museum in Rutland to create a digital visitor experience

South Holland District Council

£20,000,000

Millions to revamp the Spalding site to inspire people to be active and healthy. The £20 million will build a new swimming pool, a floodlit football pitch and multi-use games area.

Borough of Broxbourne Council

£14,316,988

A new skatepark and outdoor gym and sports pavilion will be built in Broxbourne thanks to £14 million funding, including a new running track to boost the health and wellbeing of local people

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

£47,850,000

Nearly £48 million to build a new entrance and footbridge for Peterborough train station, creating a new gateway to unlock the vibrant city centre for local people, commuters and visitors

Colchester Borough Council

£19,663,063

Reimagining Colchester’s cycle routes with £20 million, creating a direct traffic-free route into historic Colchester Castle and Colchester Park for locals to celebrate the rich local heritage of the region, and a new hub to store and hire e-bikes and e-scooters.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

£20,000,000

Regenerating the North Quay in Great Yarmouth, investing £20 million to improve pedestrian and cycle links for local people in the heart of the coastal community

Harlow District Council

£19,999,265

In Harlow, almost £20 million will create a new music and arts venue by combining the Playhouse Theatre, Gibberd Gallery and the Library to house a new music school and space for the creative industries

Norfolk County Council

£24,115,860

Building new bus and cycle routes in Kings Lynn, providing £24 million for new vital connections between residents and the city centre, while preserving the unique heritage of the 15th Century South Gate

Tendring District Council

£19,958,224

Almost £20 million to deliver 28 new affordable homes in Tendring, breathing new life into a derelict brownfield site with a new library and adult learning space led by the University of Essex Centre for Coastal Communities

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