Levelling up funding lottery explains £3m lobbying bill for Yorkshire councils starved of funds – The Yorkshire Post says

IT WOULD be erroneous to blame Yorkshire’s councils for spending taxpayers’ money on consultants to help formulate successful bids for levelling up funding from Whitehall.

Scarborough has spent £1m on consultants to lobby for government funding - is this good use of taxpayers' money?

This is illustrative of their desperation to receive grants – and other money – in order to pay for the regeneration of local communities because they have no cash reserves of their own after a decade of austerity.

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And that Scarborough Council has chosen to spend £1m like this is, in part, due to the convoluted nature of schemes like the Towns Fund – and the refusal of Ministers committed to devolution to yield control.

Boris Johnson wants his London Government to be defined by levelling up.

As such, this weekend’s disclosures by The Yorkshire Post are further confirmation about how the North and other ‘left behind’ areas are paying the price for the PM’s serial failure to set a clear policy.

Nearly two years after he won an thumping 80-seat majority after lifelong Labour supporters in ‘red wall’ supporters lent him their votes over Brexit, the Integrated Rail Plan is still to be unveiled, the eastern leg of HS2 to Yorkshire is mired in increasing uncertainty and the levelling up white paper – a policy blueprint – is nowhere to be seen.

Instead, there’s an increasingly convoluted and complex set of funding mechanisms now akin to a political lottery – and the suspicion that funds are being targeted at critical Tory towns rather than those areas of deprivation with the greatest social and economic needs.

Boris Johnson wants his London Government to be defined by levelling up.

And coming after reports that Tory whips threatened to withhold levelling up funds from the constituencies of those MPs who were tempted to rebel in last week’s House of Commons vote over the Owen Paterson sleaze scandal, it is rather ironic that Yorkshire councils are having to spend money that they can ill-afford to squander on lobbying organisations when the fault for this rests entirely with Boris Johnson’s London Government.

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Michael Gove is the Levelling Up Secretary.