Agenda item

Questions from Members


Councillor K Shaw


Can the Leader provide the council an update on the round 3 levelling up bids for County Durham and can the Leader provide council with the total costs for DCC in preparing bids for rounds 1,2 and 3


Councillor A Hopgood, Leader of the Council thanked Councillor Shaw for his question and provided the following response.


As I am sure Cllr Shaw is aware given the press coverage, all 5 remaining bids were unsuccessful in round 3. In total the council has spent £1.2 million preparing the bids, which, had we been successful, would have been approximately 1% of the funding received.


Government disclosed that they had changed the rules regarding the awarding of funding for round 2 bids after bids were submitted. Just to remind you, this change ruled out an authority from being successful in round 2 if they had received a successful round 1 bid, regardless of their scale of need. As a result of this, we wrote to government requesting reimbursement of our costs.  The response we received to this request was that we could re-submit bids in round 3 on which further guidance would be provided.


Following the announcement of successful round 3 bids a few weeks ago, once again after the event, we discovered that the criteria had been changed yet again without anyone’s knowledge. This time we understand that County Durham had been removed as a Priority 1 status area, therefore reducing the likelihood of any success.


I can confirm that as a result of being made aware of this, and there being no more bidding rounds, a further letter has been sent to Government requesting full reimbursement of the councils costs.  I am more than happy to share a copy of that letter with members.


As a supplementary question Councillor Shaw asked given the Leader’s disappointment would she agree with the Labour Group that the Council should take every possible step, including if necessary explore legal options, to get our communities money back from what has been a failed Conservative beauty pageant.


The Leader replied that the letter had been sent and had also confirmed that when the announcement was made


She and Councillor R Bell were both at the County Council Conference in Buckinghamshire where the Right Honourable Secretary of State was present and he was told in no uncertain terms by them personally what they thought of the whole procedure and how disappointed they were and had told him that the County Council would be challenging it.