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Rishi Sunak announces the UK areas set to receive £1bn of levelling up funds | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has unveiled £1bn of levelling up funding to be handed out over the next decade – but most of it is going to constituencies held by Conservative MPs.

And of those which are held by Labour MPs, many have small majorities, including those held by senior members of Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet.

As the Conservative Party conference starts, the prime minister has awarded £20m over ten years to 55 “overlooked” towns across the UK.

Of these, 34 are in constituencies represented by the Conservatives – or 62% of the locations.

In contrast, the Conservatives hold 54% of the seats in the House of Commons.

Some 16 Labour held areas have received funding – 29% – which roughly matches to the 30% of the parliamentary seats they hold.

The other five areas – 9% of the list – are held by the SNP, which has 7% of seats in Westminster.

Ten of the Conservative seats which are getting money are in the so-called red wall, which proved vital to the party’s 2019 election.

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The endowments are set to be used on priorities like reinvigorating high streets, tackling anti-social behaviour, improving transport, boosting visitor numbers and growing the local economy.

Previous allocations of money under the Conservative money have been branded “pork-barrel” politics, as most of the areas set to benefit were held by the ruling party.

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Several of the Labour seats getting money are represented by shadow ministers who have slim majorities.

Ashton-under-Lyme, represented by Sir Keir’s deputy, Angela Rayner, had a majority in 2019 of 4,263.

Bilston, which is in Wolverhampton South East, is represented by Pat McFadden, the shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who has a majority of 1,235.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper represents Castleford as part of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford. Her majority is 1,276.

angela rayner
Ms Rayner’s seat is among those receiving cash

Most of the Labour seats awarded funds have majorities at or below 10,000. The outlier is Knowsley, which has a majority of almost 40,000.

Ms Rayner, who is shadow levelling up secretary, said: “It takes a special kind of arrogance for a prime minister caught on tape boasting that he had swiped money from ‘deprived urban areas’ to now expect local people to be grateful for a promise to hand a tiny fraction of it back.

“Levelling Up announcements from this government amount to barely more than shiny headlines, chaos and delays.

“While the Tories force communities to go cap in hand to Whitehall begging for their own money back, the next Labour