Government's Levelling Up department apologises after 'embarrassing' mix up between two Newcastles
The Government's Levelling Up department has apologised after an advert promoting local funding was released in the wrong Newcastle. The electronic poster, which appeared next to the Guildhall in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, flagged up £7m worth of investment destined for Grainger Market - in Newcastle upon Tyne, around 200 miles away.The advertisement was swiftly replaced by one highlighting Stoke-on-Trent's £56m levelling up funding after residents took to social media to complain about the gaffe.
Newcastle Borough Council and Newcastle City Council both declined to comment on the Government's error.But Newcastle MP Aaron Bell called it 'very embarrassing' and said the department had given him a 'grovelling apology'.In a statement, he said: "I have seen the department's second effort – closer, but still not right! Last night I spoke in person to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, making clear that Newcastle and Stoke are very different places with their own identities."The ad has been taken down and a replacement will be approved via the levelling up minister, Dehenna Davison MP, and myself. The Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme has received over £50 million of central Government funding to level up, through the Future High Streets and Town Deal schemes, and contracts should be signed shortly on number of these projects, transforming our town centre."
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: "Our levelling up campaign is providing important information to communities across the UK, helping to spread opportunity to historically overlooked areas. Our advertising contractor made an error in the advert. We were made aware of the issue and it has now been taken down."It is understood ads placed elsewhere in the district advertising Stoke-on-Trent's funding have also been removed after feedback from residents.Newcastle City Council is due to spend the £7m levelling up money on sprucing up the historic Grade 1-listed Grainger Market, as well as improving its accessibility.Stoke-on-Trent's £56m levelling up fund award will be spent on a number of different schemes, including the Etruscan Square development, the regeneration of the Goods Yard and projects involving the former Tunstall Library and Baths, the former Spode Pottery Works in Stoke and the Crown Works in Longton.