Levelling Up Fund 2023: UK government award £2.1 billion to communities - what Liverpool City Region received

Two council boroughs in the Liverpool City Region have been granted funding but four have missed out with one council leader saying they were ‘strategically awarded’.

The UK government has confirmed the local communities that have received financial support from its  £2.1 billion Levelling Up Fund for 2023. More than 100 projects have received funding, including a few in Liverpool City Region.

In what the government brands a “landmark” scheme, its aim is to breathe new life into cities and towns in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The funding issued is split into three different categories. A total of £672 million has been allocated to improve transport links, £821 million to kick-start community regeneration, and £594 million to restore local heritage sites.

This is round two of the Levelling Up Fund. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed that there will be further opportunities to support more local communities across the country.

Levelling Up Fund for 2023 has been distributed to 111 areas with most notable investments being a new AI campus in Blackpool and new rail links in Cornwall. Here is everything you need to know about what parts of Liverpool City Region have received the financial support.

St Helens

St Helens Borough Council has received funding from the government to support the project to regenerate Earlstown’s culture. A sum of £20 million has been invested in the community.

The aim of the allocation of financial resources is to boost Earlstown’s historic market square. The project will reimagine the derelict Town Hall as a new community hub and workspace.

A CGI image of what Earlestown Market Square could look like.

Knowsley

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council has received funding from the government to support the project to improve Halewood’s leisure and connectivity. A sum of £15.3m has been invested in the community.

The aim of the allocation of financial resources is to boost transport, sporting, and leisure facilities for Halewood. It will help expand their District Centre and provide growth opportunities for the local economy.

Liverpool, Halton, Wirral and Sefton

Neither Liverpool City Council, Halton Borough Council, Wirral Council or Sefton Council have been awarded any funding as part of the Levelling Up Fund for 2023. There will be further rounds of support that the regions could be a part of in the foreseeable future.

Wirral Council leader councillor Janette Williamson suggested levelling up funds might have been “strategically awarded” after her borough lost out on £12m.

The Liscard councillor said she was “angry and deflated” Wirral Council had lost the £12m bid to fund the regeneration of Liscard.

Wirral Council had put a bid in in July 2022 to give Liscard town centre a “huge boost,” which is the second biggest in Wirral behind Birkenhead.

Reacting to the news, she pointed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency of Richmond which received £19m and said: “A cynic might say that funding’s been strategically awarded.”

The town centre of Liscard has struggled after years of gradual decline, further impacted by a recover from the pandemic and less footfall due to controversial charges in a nearby car park.

The proposals in the bid included improving shop fronts along Liscard Way, better routes for traffic, as well as cycling and walking paths.

If it had been granted, the regeneration work would have taken place alongside an Action Plan for the town centre which includes business and community grants.

Cllr Williamson said: “I’m devastated to announce that Liscard was unsuccessful in its Levelling Up bid. We had ambitious plans to return our high street to a vibrant and community led space.”

Cllr Williamson added: “We wanted people to come and spend time and put money back into the community. They were really aspirational ambitions and to me that was what I thought levelling up was or should be.

“The government has never been clear in my opinion on what their definition of levelling up was. I’m a bit lost for words really when you look at some of the successful bids and the areas they’re in.”