Laura Sharman 11 November 2020

Allocation of £3.6bn towns fund appears 'politically motivated', watchdog warns

The Government has been accused of 'political bias' when allocating funding from its £3.6bn Towns Fund by the public spending watchdog.

In a new report, the Public Accounts Committee said it was 'not convinced by the rationales' used for selecting certain towns and not others.

The report said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) had not been open about the process it followed for selected or excluding towns for the fund.

Meg Hillier, chair of the Committee, said: 'In our programme of work on the Government response to the Covid pandemic, we have begun to see the grim, potentially huge costs of public spending made in haste and without all the usual, legal checks and controls. That makes it all the less acceptable to now be looking at billions of pounds handed out in an opaque process that has every appearance of having been politically motivated - long before Covid struck.

'Now, when every penny counts, and when some towns that won funding will almost certainly have to redirect it to fill the massive holes the pandemic has blown in their budgets, MHCLG must be open and transparent about the decisions it made to hand out those £billions of taxpayers’ money, and what it expects to deliver.'

The committee also warned MHCLG was unclear on what it expects from the Towns Fund and how it will measure success.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent Living Assessor

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618
We support people’s independence and wellbeing, and work hard to enable them to live in the community with dignity, choice and control. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Performance and Reward Advisor

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£50,790 - £58,338
In Kensington and Chelsea, we have an ambitious Council Plan which sets out our priorities for the future. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Senior Business Change Officer

South Derbyshire District Council
£28,226 - £30,984
A fantastic opportunity to join an ambitious and transforming Council. Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Recuriter: South Derbyshire District Council

Head of Environment & Operations

Falkirk Council
£89,000
Can you bring experience, transformational leadership and commitment to our new Place Services? Falkirk (County)
Recuriter: Falkirk Council

Climate Change Project Officer

Uttlesford District Council
£32,798 - £35,336
A rare and exciting opportunity has arisen to play a key role in tackling the Climate Emergency. Saffron Walden, Essex
Recuriter: Uttlesford District Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.