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Lancashire MPs demand answers over Levelling Up Fund

A group of Lancashire MPs have written to the chancellor, demanding clarity about the government’s Levelling Up Fund. 

The letter to Rishi Sunak from the Lancashire All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) warns that the basis some parts of county have been awarded their relevant status for the fund ‘seems to be inconsistent’.

‘As a group of MPs we are keen that Lancashire gets its fair share of government investment,’ said APPG chairman, David Morris.

‘At our last meeting we discussed how the Levelling Up Fund would be applied to our county particularly if Local Government re-organisation takes place. We are seeking clarity on this from the chancellor.’

The £4bn Levelling Up Fund was first announced by the chancellor as first announced as part of the Spending Review last November.

But there has been some controversy over how the government has ranked certain parts of the country for the new fund.

For example, Rishi Sunak’s Richmond constituency had been identified as ‘category one’ for support from the Levelling Up Fund, with Barnsley and Sheffield placed in ‘category two’.

In March, Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis called on the government to explain how it is going to allocate the fund.

‘Lancashire is committed to local government re-organisation, having previously submitted a bid to reform from a two-tier model to a unitary model incorporating an elected mayor and combined authority,’ the letter states.

‘As such, further clarity as to what this would mean in terms of eligibility for bids both in advance and during any re-organisation process would also be helpful.

‘This is particularly relevant as eligibility for the Fund must also, and rightly, consider support from local MPs, and the bids an authority can make is dependent upon parliamentary boundaries. Clearly if a reorganisation bid for Lancashire was successful the current council boundaries would change quite dramatically making the current relationships with the MPs redundant.’

Mr Morris added: ‘This illustrates how Lancashire APPG brings Parliamentarians together to ensure our county has a stronger voice. We are hopeful the chancellor will take on board our points and avoid Lancashire receiving any disadvantage because it is moving towards new local government structures.’

 

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