Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan has strongly criticised the Government after it was announced that Northern Ireland has been blocked from taking part in round three of the Levelling Up Fund, with community projects in Great Britain receiving £1 billion of direct investment.
In a statement, Lord Rogan said: “I have taken a close interest in the first two rounds of the Levelling Up Fund and there had been no indication that Ministers were planning to exclude Northern Ireland from receiving money in round three.
“I am appalled that, once again, the people of Northern Ireland are being used as pawns in a political game as punishment for the continuing absence of an Executive and Assembly.
“These two issues are unrelated as the Levelling Up Fund is a UK Government initiative administered and resourced from Whitehall, not Stormont.
“There is no excuse for this and local communities in Northern Ireland should not be attacked in this shameful way.
“It is incredibly low and cruel blow, the decision must be reversed.”