Councillor K Shaw
Blyth County Council submitted a bid which was successful at Stage 2 Levelling up and when commenting upon the bid Michael Gove said
“Blyth Council was successful in its bid and has just secured £20 m in levelling up funding which the Government has said would transform empty homes support jobs and tackle crime and through revitalising dilapidated housing upskilling the next generation and cracking down on crime this town is finally getting the attention and investment it deserves to ensure everyone thrives”
Why was the bid for Blyth successful whilst the bid for Horden was not and what now will be plan C for Horden?
Councillor J Rowlandson, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Resources, Investment and Assets thanked Councillor Shaw for his question and provided the following response:
The Council cannot provide an answer of how government decisions were made in relation to Blyth, but we understand that the funding for Blyth was allocated outside of the Round 2 Levelling up process and announced as part of the Spring Statement.
The government decision and outcome of the Round 2 Levelling Up process was disappointing for our area and we have raised this with government. I would however put on record my thanks to the Council officers who worked above and beyond to put forward five bids, of high standard into this process, in the limited timescales available and seeking to deliver over £100m of additional investment into our area.
I would also like to thank our communities, businesses, local members and MP’s who supported our bids into government. I assure all here today, that whilst this was a hugely disappointing outcome for County Durham and indeed the many areas that did not benefit from this round of funding, that our commitment and hard work in this process, does mean we have a pipeline of projects that can be considered by the Council for further external funding opportunities in the future.
The Council cannot comment on the comparative merits of Levelling Up bids from other local authorities, however we understand that no authority that was successful in round one had a successful bid in round two and that County Durham was one of these areas along with a number of others.
As a supplementary question Councillor Shaw asked whether the Leader of the Council would call for a Judicial Review into the government’s decision to change the criteria preventing any authority successful in Round 1 of Levelling Up of accessing funding in Round 2, which was a decision taken after the Round 2 bids had been submitted, in order to recover the costs incurred by council tax payers of County Durham.
Councillor Rowlandson replied that any possible method of Judicial Review would be discussed by the Cabinet.