Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, last week pressed the UK Government on their deeply flawed ‘Levelling Up’ scheme following a terrible performance by UK ministers in front of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Parliament.
During the House of Commons Business Statement, whereby Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg MP replies to questions by MPs, Chris Elmore MP called for a debate in UK Government time on the confusion surrounding the so-called ‘Levelling Up’ scheme.
The ‘Levelling Up’ scheme has been designed with the stated goal of delivering investment into communities across the UK. Funding is applied for by local authorities.. Yet UK ministers seemed unable to answer any questions from MPs in the Welsh Affairs Select Committee on how many applications can be made, what for, and by when.
During his question to the Leader of the House, Chris Elmore MP asked:
“Will the Leader of the House provide a statement from Housing, Communities and Local Government Ministers to update us on what is happening with the Government’s much-celebrated levelling-up fund? There was what can only be described as an embarrassing session of the Welsh Affairs Committee today, where Ministers seemed unable to clarify how the additional streams of funding will work into years 2, 3 and 4; whether funding will be available in the long term beyond the first year; whether Members of Parliament can support one substantive bid, one transport bid and three additional bids, and what happens if a bid fails. There just seems to be continuous confusion, so I would be grateful if he could provide some clarity from Ministers.”
The Leader of the House was unable to provide any clarity to the situation. Raising the question of how effective this scheme will be if those in charge of it cannot provide answers.
Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:
“The performance by UK ministers in the Welsh Affairs Select Committee was shocking. Instead of providing clarity and certainty to the questions asked of them we saw prevarication and opaqueness. This simply won’t do when we are talking about such vast sums of money.
“In Parliament I pressed the UK Government for a debate in their time so we can get to the bottom of this. It is no good for the UK ministers to repeat over and over again how much they love levelling up when they can’t back it up with a concrete plan. Poor management by them will cost investment into the areas that need it most.
“There are worrying signs that this policy is benefiting those with less need. The Chancellors wealthy constituency of Richmond, Yorkshire is first in line for funding yet Ogmore is being left behind. I will continue to do all I can to demand the investment that is rightfully ours. Until then I will keep exposing this UK Government’s charade that this is anything but a policy created on the hoof to benefit themselves.”