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LEEDS TORIES BLAME BIAS AND INCOMPETENCE FOR GRANT INEQUALITY

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The Conservative group leader on Leeds City Council has claimed that the city is missing out on regeneration aid be...
The Conservative group leader on Leeds City Council has claimed that the city is missing out on regeneration aid because of government bias and city council incompetence, reported The Yorkshire Evening Post (6 July).

Andrew Carter said that under the government's single regeneration budget Leeds had, so far, been awarded£53m - less than any other major city.

Mr Carter said: 'Sheffield received almost double at£91m - even Bradford received more. The SRB has been dispensed at an average of£124 per head across all the areas to which it has been awarded.

'In Leeds, the funding level is£72 per head, Sheffield received£172 per head and Newcastle£300 per head.' He also claimed Leeds had fared equally badly under the Capital Challenge Scheme - another government programme for distributing grants.

The city received less than West Yorkshire's other cities, all the major cities in the country apart from Liverpool and 11 London boroughs.

Mr Carter said: Leeds received half the national average. The Labour government has moved funding for obvious political reasons from the south to the north. Nevertheless, Leeds has lost out.

'It appears that there has, for a number of years, been a distinct bias in favour of giving large government and European grants to the most profligate of cities. This has now accelerated under the Labour government to quite unacceptable proportions.'

He also suggested that it could be argued that Leeds missed out because some of its bids were 'half-baked'. He said: 'If this is the case then the blame has to lie with the Labour-controlled council.'

A council spokeswoman said: 'Leeds has been successful in a number of bids where other cities have failed. The level of funding in our successful bids is decided by the government office and the council has no control over this.

'If cllr Carter is criticising the quality of Leeds's bidding, then he is not criticising the council alone. Our bids are formulated and submitted by the Leeds initiative, through the Leeds Initiative Regeneration Board. This is a partnership between the public and private sectors responsible for bringing investment and regeneration to the city.'

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