Anger as South Tyneside misses out on Government Levelling Up cash again - these are the plans which were included in the bids
South Tyneside’s leaders have reacted with anger after the borough again missed out on millions of pounds from the national Levelling Up fund.
The Government today, Thursday, January 19, announced £2.1billion of funding for more than 100 levelling up projects – including around £19million for a project in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Richmond constituency.
South Tyneside Council had submitted bids for proposals they hoped would bring new jobs and further investment by boosting green energy, education and cultural offerings.
The separate plans for South Shields and Jarrow constituencies included:
:: Expansion of the Hebburn Minewater and Viking Energy networks
:: ‘Significant’ investment at Jarrow Hall
:: Developing The Customs House and a cultural quarter
:: Creating a skills and visitor centre - the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence - at Holborn Renewable Energy Network in South Shields
:: Developing student accommodation as part of South Tyneside College’s relocation into the town centre.
‘The second time we have been left behind’
But none of the bids has been successful.
It is the second time in little more than a year that the borough has lost out – a bid to attract support from the fund for the South Tyneside College move was rejected in November 2021.
Council leader CllrTracey Dixon said she had learned last night that the bids had been unsuccessful.
“I only found out at about 11:35pm when two letters dropped into my in-box, which is not acceptable” she said.
"South Tyneside has been left behind again by this Government – the second time we have been left behind when it comes to leveling-up.
"The Government should take a long, hard look at themselves. Both bids for South Tyneside were for the benefit of the wider community.”
Cllr Dixon also criticised the bidding process and its expense.
“What they have done is to pit councils against each other in putting these costly bids together,” she said.
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne added: "This rejection of the Jarrow constituency levelling up fund bid shows the Tories are continuing to neglect communities such as ours, while chasing headlines with empty rhetoric and announcements that will not ‘level up’ but continue to leave us behind.
“Although I am not surprised at this continued neglect from the Tory government, I am very disappointed.
‘This Government have shown they do not care about our communities’
“Once again this Government have shown they do not care about our communities. They have no interest in investing in our Northern towns and cities and never have done."
Her South Shields colleague Emma Lewell-Buck said: “This news is extremely disheartening after a long campaign and a considerable amount of effort. The lack of support from the Government lays bare the hollow slogan ‘levelling-up’.
“The Tories are using this funding as a political tool to allocate money to their voter-bases. It is time they scrapped this piecemeal way of allocating funding across the country that pits area against area and invested properly in all of our communities.”
A Government spokesperson defended the allocation of funding: “The Levelling Up Fund is investing in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, spreading opportunity to historically overlooked areas.“All projects were subject to a rigorous assessment process under robust, fair and transparent rules, with no involvement of local MPs.”