'We've been left behind!' Rishi Sunak grilled by city council leader as £50M project announced

Rishi Sunak was grilled by a city council leader when she asked how the levelling-up project would help the North of England
Rishi Sunak was grilled by a city council leader when she asked how the levelling-up project would help the North of England

Rishi Sunak suffered the grilling during a Q&A with audience members in Morecambe

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was questioned by a city council leader in Morecambe, Lancashire on the North of England being “left behind”.

Sunak visited Lancashire as he announced the £50million Eden Project North tourist attraction – one of 111 projects as part of the levelling-Up scheme.

Across the UK analysts claim London will be getting £151million more than the North East which gets £108million and Yorkshire and Humber which gets £120million.

But the former chancellor has insisted the north-west and north-east of England were receiving the most levelling up funding on a per capita basis.

Rishi Sunak visited Lancashire to announce the £50million Eden Project North attraction
Rishi Sunak visited Lancashire to announce the £50million Eden Project North attraction

He has also rejected claims that the allocation of more than £2 billion in taxpayers’ money for local projects was skewed towards relatively affluent areas including his own constituency which will see a £19million revamp.

Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council said: “How are you going to pick this up?

"Because levelling-up comes once, so how is this immense possibility for this area and across the North West and where you are, how is the North going to be picked up and help really contribute to the future of our nation, the health and wealth?"

She added: “Because we know you’ve got levelling-up because we’ve been left behind, so how are you going to get that rolling onwards because that’s what we want to do.”

Sunak responded: “You ask how we are doing it, and I think we do it by actually delivering it. We can’t just talk about closing some of the gaps or changing some of things that have happened in the past. We’ve just got to actually do it in practice which is what today is a great example of.”

“Change doesn’t happen overnight but I really feel when I’m doing my visits across the North now that people do feel that something has changed.”

He also denied the funding allocations were motivated by an attempt to shore up support in southern Tory seats.

“I think around half the funding we have announced over the course of today, or both funds, has actually gone to places that are not controlled by Conservative MPs or councils,” the Prime Minister added.

“I don’t think anyone can say it’s being done on that basis, there’s a completely objective, transparent criteria.”

The Prime Minister insists the North is receiving the most levelling up funding
The Prime Minister insists the North is receiving the most levelling up funding