West Midlands mayor hits out at government as Birmingham Levelling Up bids are rejected

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has urged the government and MPs to explain why Birmingham’s bids for levelling up funding have been rejected

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The West Midlands Conservative mayor Andy Street has hit out at the government for its distribution of levelling up funds across the country.

Mr Street expressed his frustration that the majority of the region’s bids for funding had been rejected. All five bids from Birmingham City Council have been rejected by the government.

From the £2.1bn pot of levelling up funds, the West Midlands received £155 million. The news means hopes of regenerating deprived areas of Erdington, Edgbaston and Northfield are now uncertain.

The council’s bids, which included funding for Northfield, Edgbaston, Erdington High Street, Druids Heath and a plan to reduce energy bills have all been rejected by the government. Significant funding has been awarded to councils in Staffordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire.

In the West Midlands, a £20m project in Rowley Regis will be used for a new leisure centre and Walsall Council has secured £20 million to transform Willenhall in the latet round of funding.

Following the news, Mr Street took to Twitter to express his frustration that Birmingham’s bids had been rejected.

He released a statement, which said: “The funding secured for Rowley Regis and Willenhall is of course welcome, but I am particularly concerned that the government may have viewed our past successes - not least the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture in recent years - as a reason to reject the majority of the region’s bids.

“The West Midlands is currently in high profile negotiations with government over some major multi-billion pound schemes - namely our trailblazer Devolution Deal and Midlands Rail Hub - but I cannot accept that that should be a reason to preclude us from winning money from some of our most deprived areas.”

Birmingham has some of the mosr deprived neighbourhoods in the country, incluidng Hodge Hill and Erdington.

West Midlands Mayor Andy StreetWest Midlands Mayor Andy Street
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

‘Begging Bowl culture is broken’

In his statement, he added: “Fundamentally, this episode is just another example as to why Whitehall’s bidding and begging-bowl culture is broken, and the sooner we can decentralise and move to proper fiscal devolution the better.”

Mr Street said he is waiting to hear from MPS and the Government on their reasoning fo rejecting the funding.