Rishi Sunak defends levelling up payments amid allegations of ‘favouritism’ – UK politics live

LIVE – Updated at 12:18 Latest updates: prime minister to make series of visits across north-east to promote levelling up funding.   12:18

The levelling up urgent question was tabled by Alex Norris, the shadow communities minister, and he described the levelling up initiative as a failure. He said:

Levelling up is a failure, the government are going backwards on their flagship missions. They can’t even appoint levelling up directors and today we see this reach its

maximum. A rock-bottom allocation for Yorkshire and the Humber, nothing for the cities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Stoke, nothing for Stonehouse in Plymouth, a community

in the bottom 0.2% for economic activity. But money for the prime minister’s constituency, money for areas in the top quartile economically. What on earth were the

objective criteria used to make these decisions? Norris also said the money allocated through the levelling up fund was only a fraction of what was cut from local

government over the past decade. He said: The cuts to local government, and this is in cash terms rather than real terms, is £15bn over the last decade or so. Today’s

announcement gives back £2.1bn. They have nicked a tenner from our wallets and they expect us to be grateful for getting two quid back. In response to Norris, Lucy

Frazer, the communities minister, said Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, and Norris himself were among the MPs whose constituencies were getting money.

And she defended the money going to Rishi Sunak’s constituency, saying it would be “regenerating a town where an infantry base is”.