Business Alliance and the Public Sector Chairs’ Forum call for level playing field for Northern Ireland

23rd Nov 2023

Speaking today (23 November 2023) the Northern Ireland Business Alliance joined together with the Public Sector Chairs’ Forum (PSCF) to call for the extension of the recently announced Levelling Up fund to Northern Ireland, given the detrimental impact on both the public and private sectors and ultimately our communities, already facing significant funding shortfalls.

This follows the announcement that no money has been provided ‘at this time’ due to a lack of Executive and Assembly. This comes despite Northern Ireland projects being allocated funds in previous rounds.

The Business Alliance and Public Sector Chairs’ Forum said:

“Contrary to the advertising, Levelling Up is no longer here. With 55 projects in England, Scotland and Wales awarded a share of nearly £1 billion from Round 3 of government’s flagship Levelling Up Fund, the decision to exclude our local organisations runs contrary to the government’s aim to stabilise and transform public services, grow the economy by levelling up, and provide the foundations for building a better future in communities across the UK.

“It will also further limit Northern Ireland’s ability to respond to the challenge set down by the Secretary of State himself, to deliver value for money, and transformative projects with limited public funds.”

Welcoming the confirmation from Jacob Young, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, that the money has been ringfenced, the two organisations continued:

“Our members represent a very wide range of organisations, and we stand ready to work with political leaders to realise the ambitions of levelling up.  We are therefore disappointed that innovative, impactful projects are excluded from the ability to spread opportunity, create jobs and revitalise local communities across Northern Ireland.”