A new report from London Councils, the cross-party organisation representing London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London, raises concerns about the way funding has been allocated through the Government’s ‘Levelling up Fund’ and the ‘Community Renewal Fund’.
Earlier this year the Chancellor announced plans for the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ (LUF) which put Tower Hamlets in the lowest category of need, despite having the highest child poverty rate across the whole country.
The new report from London Councils said it was “notable that some of the London boroughs ranked as the lowest priority for LUF investment areas in London have a remarkably low (i.e. highly deprived) Index of Multiple Deprivation scoring.”
The report argues that the way funding has been allocated is “a major step back from local areas making their own decisions” and that “given the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on the capital, London’s share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund must be at least equal to that seen under European Structural and Investment Funds.”
The report also highlights that the way the levelling up fund uses ‘gross value added’ in each area to work out funding actually penalises residents of inner-city areas like Tower Hamlets, where residents live in close proximity to concentrations of well-paid employment such as Canary Wharf, but with the workforce predominantly travelling into work from wealthier areas.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I welcome this new report from London Councils which adds further weight to the concerns that many have raised about the Government’s anti-London agenda.
“It beggars belief that the Government has put Tower Hamlets, with the highest rate of child poverty in the country, in the lowest category of need for its so-called ‘levelling up fund’.
“It’s very clear to me that the ‘levelling up’ fund is just another way to divert money away from deprived areas like Tower Hamlets and into Tory constituencies.”