“Economic Blackmail” - Sammy Wilson as Gov Levelling Up Fund allocates £0 to Northern Ireland
DUP East Antrim MP and Treasury spokesman Sammy Wilson has called on the Secretary of State for Levelling Up to explain why not a single penny was allocated to Northern Ireland despite hundreds of valid applications in the system.
Today, Monday 20th November, the UK Government announced £1billion from Round 3 of government’s flagship Levelling Up Fund, "to spread opportunity, create jobs and revitalise local communities".
The 55 projects announced as recipients of the latest round of funding were spread across England, Wales and Scotland.
East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson said:
“This is an outrageous act by the Government. Under the cloak of economic blackmail, the Government has syphoned money away from Northern Ireland to shore up Conservative seats in England.
"Despite being entitled to 3% of the £1billion Northern Ireland has not received a single penny from this round of allocations despite there being hundreds of suitable applications in the system. Northern Ireland should have had an allocation of at least £30m today.
"The Government’s rationale for this decision is as spurious as it is outrageous. An absence of an Executive has no material effect on the allocations indeed, the principal objection in Scotland and Wales to the Levelling Up Fund is that it is driven by Westminster rather than the devolved regions.
"The Government should be honest. The real reason for this allocation is to direct more money into the marginal seats in Great Britain where the Conservative Party is struggling.
"Such is a scale of this pronouncement, applicants from Northern Ireland would be well entitled to seek a judicial challenge of the decision as the key indices for allocating funding align with Northern Ireland’s needs whether that is pay levels, productivity levels or skills levels.”