Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan has tabled a question in Parliament seeking more information on the Government’s decision to exclude Northern Ireland from the latest release of grants through the Levelling Up Fund.
On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced that £1 billion has been awarded to 55 community projects in Great Britain.
But the Government statement added that Northern Ireland would receive no funding “given the current absence of a working Executive and Assembly.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and his deputy Steve Baker came under pressure on this issue from MPs on all sides of the House of Commons yesterday with Opposition Whip and former Shadow Northern Ireland Minister Tonia Antoniazzi praising the bid from Coleraine Football Club which missed out on support in round two of the Levelling Up Fund.
Lord Rogan said: “In common with Ms Antoniazzi and, indeed, the Secretary of State himself, I had the pleasure of visiting the Coleraine Showgrounds to discuss the club’s bid and was impressed by all I heard.
“Coleraine Football Club is desperately keen to proceed with its plans to develop a state of the art Northwest Regional Stadium and community facility in one of the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland. The initiative has my full support.
“I have tabled a written question in the House of Lords asking how much Levelling Up round three funding has been ringfenced to spend in Northern Ireland, when the decision was taken to exclude Northern Ireland from this week’s announcement, and by whom.
“It is scandalously unfair that shovel-ready community projects in Northern Ireland such as the one in Coleraine are facing this unnecessary and seemingly open-ended delay, when scores in Great Britain have been given the green light.
“We need answers but, more importantly, we need spades in the ground.”