Lisa Nandy criticises government’s levelling up plans as ‘Hunger Games-style contest’

19 January 2023, 10:14

Lisa Nandy slams government 'Hunger Games' style levelling up plan

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

The Shadow Secretary for Levelling Up said regions of the UK are being “pitted against one another” and money is being given to them with one hand but taken away by another.

Labour's Lisa Nandy branded the government's funds to most economies around the country as a “Hunger Games-style conquest”, saying not enough money has been given back.

Ms Nandy told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC: “Of course we’ll welcome any money back into the north of England, the Midlands and parts of the country that have been starved of investment for a long time. It’s our money and if we can get some of it back we’d be grateful.

READ MORE: Gove denies £19m levelling up cash for Richmond in Yorkshire is headed there 'because the MP is Rishi Sunak'

“But it is extraordinarily arrogant to think that we’re going to be running around celebrating when four out of five parts of the country have got absolutely nothing out of this process.”

She was referring to the government giving more than 100 projects around the county a tranche of £2.1 billion from the second round of its “flagship Levelling Up Fund”, designed to “create jobs and boost the economy”.

The Shadow Secretary said that “even the winners are losing”, using the example of her constituency, Wigan, which has been given £20m.

Nick Ferrari questions Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove

“That's about a fifth of what’s been taken from us since Boris Johnson stood in the election campaign in 2019 and promised to level up the country. It's like giving us a fiver and nicking 20 quid out of our back pocket”, she said.

The Labour MP added that her council has seen “huge deep cuts” since then, and throughout the time the Conservatives have been in power since 2010.

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

“Although they’re giving us money with one hand, they’re taking far more away with another”, she said, calling it “a Hunger Games-style conquest where we’re pitted against one another” with “one-off little pots of money”.

She felt the government is not “thinking seriously about the huge potential of local economies” such as the hydrogen and film industries, saying these are the “cutting edge of the jobs for the future”.

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