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Levelling Up fund focused on less deprived areas and areas with Tory MPs

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (@_CELUP) released the results of the first allocation of Levelling Up Fund monies 27th October 2021. Over £1.7bn was allocated to over 100 projects. Analysis of the data by the Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up at the University of West London shows that:

  • less than half (47%) of funds allocated to projects in England were allocated to areas ranking in the bottom 20% of the country in terms of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD);
  • nearly 70% was allocated to areas in the bottom 30% of the country by IMD;
  • nearly half of the funds (47%) were allocated to areas with Conservative MPs, as opposed to 38% with Labour MPs with 10% going to areas with Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs;
  • nearly half of the funds (48%) went to Labour controlled local authority areas with less than 20% going to areas where the local authority was under Conservative control;
  • and the North West was the area which received the largest amount of money followed by Yorkshire and Humberside and then the East Midlands. Scotland received more funds than any other region apart from this top 3.

These initial allocations show that there is still a mismatch between where funds are allocated and how deprived an area is. Funds are allocated to a greater number of areas with Conservative MPs – however there are significantly more Conservative MPs in Parliament. Labour led local authorities appear to do well from these allocations. Where regions are concerned the north – where the Conservatives won many seats they had not held before at the last election, benefited from the largest amounts of funding. However, the Midlands and the South East also received a significant amount as did Scotland who received almost as much as West Midlands and the South East. A fuller breakdown of allocations by region, local authority control and constituency MP can be found here.

The Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up (CILUP) was launched in July 2021. It aims to produce policy relevant research related to place and other dimensions of social inequality. The Head of the Centre Professor Graeme Atherton stated that:

This analysis shows that Levelling Up funds while focussed on the north and distributed to more areas with Conservative MPs, have also been allocated to an extent across the country and under Labour control. The relatively high level of investment made in projects in Scotland and to a degree Wales and Northern Ireland is notable. It is important now that full details of the projects funded are released so we can see what exactly these funds will support so we can understand exactly who will benefit’.


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