Government calls claim it has only spent 8% of levelling-up fund ‘misleading'
The Government has called Labour’s claim it has only spent 8% of levelling-up funds “completely misleading and wrong”.
The opposition has accused the Conservatives of sitting on more than 90% of the promised £4.8 billion regeneration cash.
A Labour freedom of information (FOI) request – seen by the PA news agency – suggested the total spend of the levelling-up fund was £392 million by the end of February, approximately 8% of the full amount.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said “these claims are completely misleading and wrong”.
They added: “The analysis includes figures for round three of the Levelling Up Fund which has not yet been allocated, as well as for round two which was only allocated earlier this year and is due to be spent over at least three financial years.
“The Levelling Up Fund will transform communities right across the country with £4.8 billion spent over several years, but we have always been clear that councils will receive funding over time and payments are made every six months.”
The Government said the published prospectuses for both rounds of funding that have been allocated were clear the funding would be spent over three years (round one was expected to be spent by March 31 2024, round two by March 31 2025).
The FOI submitted by Labour looked at data to February 22 2023 – round two was announced on January 18.
In the House of Commons, shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy accused the Government of spending three times the amount on a tax cut for “the richest 1%” than they had spent on the whole of the North of England in more than a year.
“Doesn’t this just sum this Government up?” she said. “They can get their act together when it comes to the 1%, but when it comes to investment in our town centres, local transport, decent housing, even on delivering on a single one of the levelling-up missions, why is it that the rest of us always just have to wait?”
Labour’s FOI request asked the Government how much money allocated through the fund had been spent.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities responded that £224 million had been spent by January 18, rising to £392 million by February 22.