Rishi Sunak has reiterated his commitment to levelling up as the Government announced £2 billion for more than 100 projects across the UK.
The Department for Levelling Up promised that the latest round of levelling up funding would deliver much-needed economic growth and new jobs to communities across the country, as the Prime Minister promised to “build a future of optimism”.
But Labour accused the Government of presiding over a “Hunger Games-style contest where communities are pitted against one another”.
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.
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.”
The Prime Minister’s own Richmond constituency in Yorkshire is receiving £19 million in funding, with money going to Catterick Garrison to regenerate the town centre.
The levelling up vision was one pioneered by former prime minister Boris Johnson, who promised to “level up” towns and communities across the UK.
Among other projects set to benefit is the planned regeneration of Gateshead Quays and the Sage, which will receive £20 million, while £5.1 million has been provided to build new female changing rooms in 20 rugby clubs across Northern Ireland.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the support would see the Government “firing the start gun” on a range of projects.
He said: “This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. 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.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt called it a “major down payment on local jobs, growth and regeneration”, with confirmation too of a further round of the levelling up fund.
The announcement of the funding comes alongside the launch of a new interactive map, which can be viewed online and which will allow the public to see which projects in their area have received funding.
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.”