Government chaos leaves question mark over Levelling Up funding says Southend Council leader

A raft of schemes dependent on Government Levelling Up funding could be in doubt because of chaos in Government, Southend Council’s leader has said.

Stephen George called into question whether £26.5million of funding for Southend would go ahead following the sacking of levelling up minister Michael Gove and the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The deadline for bids has already been extended as the Government website wasn’t ready to accept them.

Asked if government turmoil was going to affect the bid, Mr George said: “I think the fact that Michael Gove was sacked, I would personally think there is a big issue around levelling up now. We’ve got a period of hiatus at the moment. We’ve put a bid together but I would be surprised if the deadlines were extended again. As so often the Government agenda is placing difficulties.”

Warning of hard economic times ahead Mr George said he couldn’t rule out service cuts or redundancies. He said: “I would say everything would be discussed. Everything has to be on the table. The Government over the last few years has given us more and more responsibilities but not given us the money to carry those responsibilities out.”

The bid includes a culture-led regeneration bid of £12.5million and £14million for road improvements.

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Mick Ferris

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