After wasting £6 million on the Marble Arch Mound fiasco, deprived areas in Westminster have lost out on up to £20m ‘Levelling Up’ funding for Government infrastructure schemes because the Conservatives put in a bid focussed on the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street.
The UK government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ was devised to help deprived areas, and eight out of Westminster’s 20 wards have neighbourhoods among the most deprived in Britain. But Westminster Conservatives’ bid concerned the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street and focussed on improving visitors’ experience. The government turned them down flat.
Councillor David Boothroyd, Labour’s finance spokesperson, said:
“Westminster Conservatives have lost sight of the priorities of the residents they should be serving. Invited to put forward projects that would help improve the lives of people suffering deprivation, they put forward their extravagant but vague plans for Oxford Street. The Government’s fund is more suited to supporting local high streets in the hearts of our local communities such as Harrow Road, Queensway, Westbourne Grove, Lupus Street and Edgware Road. Clearly the Government agrees that no-one wastes money quite like Westminster’s Conservative councillors.”
He added: “We know the government has it in for London, but some other boroughs did manage to get funding. This pathetic failure finally disproves the Conservative Party’s line to voters that you need a Conservative run council to get on with a Conservative government.”