London has received less funding from the government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund so far than any other English region and less than any other part of the UK except Northern Ireland, according to the Department for Communities and Levelling Up.
Figures obtained by local government researcher Jack Shaw and published by the Observer show that just £3 million out of the £107 million – less than 3% of the fund total – that had been actually distributed by the end of March went to London, which has a higher poverty rate than any other area in the UK.
The paucity of funding for projects in London reflects the capital being given a smaller portion of the first £1.7 billion allocated in October 2021 than anywhere except Northern Ireland, with only £65 million being earmarked for six local projects across the capital.
The £3 million actually received by projects in London so far represents just 4.6% of the total awarded nearly a year ago.
In regional terms, the largest sum to to actually be delivered so far is £16.3 million to the West Midlands, followed by £14.7 million to Wales, £14.2 million to the North West and £12.1 million to Yorkshire and the Humber.
“Levelling up” was a flagship theme of the Conservative government led by outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson following the 2019 general election, which saw a number of constituencies in the north of England switch from Labour to the Tories.
However, a levelling up white paper was not published until February of this year and the secretary of state of the time, Michael Gove, has since resigned. The future of the strategy under the next Prime Minister is unclear, with some suggesting it will be watered down or abandoned.
Shaw also learned that some of the overall first round Levelling Up Fund allocations are even now not expected to actually be made until financial year 2025/26. A prospectus for round two of the fund was published in March and the deadline for applications passed on 2 August.
Dave Hill: London has received less ‘levelling up’ cash than any other English region