Nearly 80% of towns getting share of £725m of government funding represented by Conservative MPs

  • Words by ITV News producers Mark Mehta and Fred Dimbleby

Nearly 80% of the constituencies in which the government has invested part of a £725 million fund are represented by Conservative MPs, according to ITV News' analysis.

The three towns receiving the most funding all have Conservative MPs who won their seats from Labour in 2019.

Ashfield, which is represented by Conservative Lee Anderson, will receive £62.6 million while Keighley, represented by Robbie Moore, will get £33.6 million.

Bishop Auckland, which will receive £33.2 million, is represented by Dehenna Davison - she is the first Conservative to win the seat since its creation.

Robert Jenrick denies that the allocation of funds was designed to benefit Conservative MPs:

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, today announced that £725m would go to 30 towns in England to helps them build "stronger and more resilient local economies, boosting prosperity and opportunity in our communities".

The money, which comes from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund unveiled in July 2019, is intended to kickstart urban regeneration and boost green transport infrastructure, tourism and jobs.However, ITV News analysis of the towns that are set to benefit from the money, shows that the vast majority fall in constituencies with Conservative MPs.

Labour criticised the allocation of the funding, saying the government were not interested in "actually delivering for towns".

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Steve Reed MP, said: “This is a reannouncement of money already allocated as part of the fund by a Conservative Government more interested in governing by press release than actually delivering for towns.

“Under the Conservatives, poorer towns are consistently losing out in favour of richer areas, with Cabinet Ministers’ wealthy seats getting preferential funding ahead of deprived areas.

“Labour would ensure all regions get their fair share of investment so that every town is the best place to grow up, live and grow old in.

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Asked whether the allocation of funds was designed to increase support for Conservatives, Mr Jenrick said: "Absolutely not. We want to represent and govern for the whole country.

"We made a commitment to level up all communities and so we'll be supporting communities the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to get the investment that they deserve. 

"Some of these places have been undervalued and underinvested in for too long, so we will never apologise for making good on our promise to support those people and those communities, particularly now as we come out of the pandemic."