Reminders that Robert Jenrick awarded his own constituency of Newark-on-Trent £25 million from the Towns Fund have been circulating on social media after he failed to agree a package of financial support for Manchester to protect incomes for people forced out of work.
Talks with local authorities collapsed last night after the government refused to meet demands for £65 million to safeguard people amidst new strict lockdown rules.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said £65 million was the “bare minimum to prevent a winter of real hardship” over a “punishing” winter, but the government was only prepared to part with £60 million.
Standing outside the Bridgewater Hall as he held a press conference, Mr Burnham found out the lockdown would come into force on Friday, and Sir Richard Leese said the region would get ‘£20 million only’.
The sum was later clarified to be £22 million.
Local leaders interrupt live interviews to show Andy Burnham messages that appear to suggest Greater Manchester will be put into Tier 3 at 0001 Friday— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 20, 2020
Burnham was told the message said “£20m only and they’re going to try to pick off individual councils”https://t.co/UbvkmeWLaR pic.twitter.com/lueMrO8bmd
The figure is well short of the £25 million which was awarded to Jenrick’s constituency from a controversial hardship fund – despite official figures showing it is far less deprived than neighbouring areas that have been overlooked.
According to the government’s own model for awarding funding, Newark-on-Trent is not an area of “high priority” for investment.
But Jenrick, who launched the £3.6 billion fund last September, saying the aim was to “level up our great towns”, managed to direct investment there regardless.
MORE FUN FACTS— David Schneider (@davidschneider) October 21, 2020
Greater Manchester is getting less than the £25m Robert Jenrick’s constituency was given by the Towns Fund that he’s in charge of.
It’s getting under half of the estimated £50m Jenrick saved a Tory donor in planning fees.
Analysis of the beneficiaries found 61 of the 101 towns chosen for funding were in marginal seats, leading to accusations that the fund represented spending of taxpayers’ money for party political purposes.
Needless to say the reaction on social media has been pretty brutal.
We’ve picked out the best:
Newark – population 72,407— James Manuell (@JamesManuell) October 20, 2020
Greater Manchester – population 2,822,000
Funding for Newark: £25m
Funding for Manchester: £20m
So Conservative ministers believe Conservative constituents are 49x more deserving than Labour voting constituents. Hmm.
UK Gov is offering #Manchester £22m aid for 2.8m people.— Paul PD (@atticusfinch104) October 20, 2020
Merseyside got £44m for 1.5m people.
Lancashire got £42m for 1.5m people.
And Newark got £25m for 400,000 people !!!
So much for leveling up……. who represents Newark again?