Tiny Isles of Scilly to Receive Over £48 Million in Levelling Up Cash

With the first round of Levelling Up funding now on its way, the government is keen to get on the front foot and make it clear the Red Wall isn’t missing out on all that cash. Just last week, Rishi told the BBC:

“If you look at the funding, and you compare it to the number of people that live in each region, the region that has done the best in the amount of funding per person is the north!”

All well and good… except the Isles of Scilly, just off the coast of Cornwall, is set to receive a cool £48 Million. With a population of just 2,100 according to the latest census, that’s an average of £23,000 per resident…

Apparently the cash will be used to improve sea links to the islands, including providing “a more accessible passenger service“, and to encourage new investment in the local economy. The Isle of Scilly already has regularly scheduled flights and ferries to the mainland, with the February timetable displaying 3-4 flights on most days, as well as ferries. During some months of the year, flights reach as far as Exeter…

Benjamin Elks from the TaxPayers’ Alliance tells Guido:

Taxpayers will rightly ask if this is the best use of precious funds. Ministers should review this award.”

Scilly money…

mdi-timer 23 January 2023 @ 13:34 23 Jan 2023 @ 13:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gove Brings Levelling Up Sunshine to Morecambe

Guido was disappointed to see that, despite arriving in the seaside town of Morecambe with an army of photographers, Rishi turned down the opportunity to pose with the area’s most popular landmark – the statue of the eponymous Eric Morecambe. Thankfully, fun-loving Michael Gove leapt at the opportunity, and hit a wobbly pose alongside local MP David Morris. Michael’s used to being caught on the hop…

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John Stevenson Set to Take Over NRG

The promotion of Jake Berry to Tory Party Chairman has created a power vacuum in one of the Party’s most influential backbench caucuses. The Northern Research Group has been key in holding the government to account on levelling up, fighting for Northern freedom during lockdown and additional Treasury support during the pandemic. Berry isn’t the only prominent NRG figure Truss elevated to ministerial office; Dehenna Davison, the 2019 MP for Bishop Aukland, was appointed as a Levelling Up Minister last week.

Among strong competition, Carlisle MP John Stevenson has come out on top to replace Berry as NRG chairman, subject to an AGM due after conference. Stevenson says he’s “very proud to be the NRG Chairman, during this crucial period for the North.” Will the NRG continue being a thorn in the side of the government, or be supportive now their man Berry’s on the inside? Time will tell…

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Darlington Members Plump for Rishi After Hustings

Rishi’s reception at last night’s Darlo husting was probably the warmest he’s received since the national tour began. Admittedly putting either candidate on stage with Tom Newton Dunn was always going to elevate the perception of both of them, however Sunak is undeniably popular in his own right among North East Tories. From his support of and from Ben Houchen, to the Freeport in Teesside, the Treasury and Trade Department campuses in Darlington, the Teesworks industrial zone, and Rishi’s knowledge of the local area thanks to his North Yorkshire constituency, it’s no wonder he felt on home turf. He even promised to serve Parmos off the Cabinet table if elected…

This support, Guido hears, carried through to the association’s auction in the bar afterwards. Liz promised to turn up, and didn’t, whereas Rishi was there as soon as the door opened. A correx board signed by the two of them went for £70, though most telling was the booze offering. A bottle of whisky signed by Sunak sold for a whopping £150. A bottle of Merlot signed by Liz went for… £0.

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Upset Peer Calls Michael Gove “An Intellectual Flibberty-Gibbet”

The Lords are in a huff over what’ll happen to the members of the upper chamber when the builders boot them out for urgent renovations. While most would rather stay close to home and camp in the nearby Queen Elizabeth II centre, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has other ideas, claiming he “cannot endorse” their plan to “decamp to a temporary home a mere 200 yards from the Palace of Westminster”. Over the weekend it emerged he’s instead recommending they be shipped off to some place further afield – preferably in the North somewhere so he can say he’s levelling up the region. Inevitably the Lords have started chuntering…

One particularly upset Peer, Lord Cormack, tried making the point today that it’s not even within Gove’s gift to make those plans:

“On whose authority did Mr. Gove contact the Lord Speaker… was he speaking for the government? And if so, does he realise this wasn’t a matter for the government… or was this just another freelance exercise by an intellectual flibberty-gibbet?”

Caaalm down…

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Government Spending Taxpayers’ Money on Levelling Up Adverts

With just over a month to go before the local elections, the government has decided now is a convenient time to throw buckets of cash at a “Levelling Up” advertising campaign, with dozens of targeted ads appearing all over Facebook and local newspapers in the last few days. While the residents of these 30 areas – including Southend, Grimsby and Wolverhampton – will be pleased to finally understand what “Levelling Up” is supposed to mean, they may be less impressed to hear how much it cost them to find out… the ads on Facebook alone will have run up a bill of at least £100,000, all bought and paid for by the taxpayer. 

They look to Guido like Tory adverts, with a Tory slogan, Tory colours and a red, white and blue logo that feels distinctly like a Tory logo. Labour are understandably not happy with either the timing or messaging…

The final bill, which DLUHC has so far refused to disclose, because the campaign is “ongoing“, will inevitably be much higher. Ads are also being played on radio stations and appearing on digital billboards, all just before the official restrictions on campaign announcements ahead of the locals kicks in. Public money being splashed on political campaigns – what was it Jacob Rees-Mogg said about taking care of taxpayers’ cash?

mdi-timer 30 March 2022 @ 16:33 30 Mar 2022 @ 16:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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