BBCs Charlie snaps as Lisa Nandy swerves levelling up probe

Lisa Nandy is grilled by Charlie Stayt on levelling up money

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The BBC Breakfast presenter lost his patience on Thursday’s show while interviewing Shadow Secretary of State, Lisa Nandy, as he demands answers as to why more of a £2.1billion grant for levelling up has gone to the South East rather than North East of England. Stayt became frustrated as Nandy appeared to swerve his line of questioning.

After a report from Blackpool suggested many didn’t know enough about the levelling-up fund, Stayt slammed Nandy over the way she is doing “her job”.

“They’ve never heard of levelling up – your job!” he commented.

Discussing the funding, Nandy remarked: “We welcome any investment in the north and across the country that have been starved of it for a long time.

“We need a long-term sustained approach from government.”

“If you were the Levelling-Up secretary, you would not be creating the project being created now, which is being asked for by those communities?” Stayt asked.

“We want to end the competitive style bidding,” Nandy replied. “We’re going to ask councils and communities to draw up their own economic growth strategies.”

“Can I ask you whether you think there is a bias in the way the money has been allocated between north and south and between the areas that most need it, do you think that has been done fairly?” Stayt added.

Nandy began: “It’s really impossible to tell with this sort of process because it’s so -“

Stayt cut in to point out: “But you’ve looked at where the money’s going…”

“The first round of funding was plagued by accusations of cronyism and favouritism,” Nandy explained.

“There’s been a lot of speculation this morning about why Rishi Sunak’s constituency is one of the big winners-“

“I’d like your opinion,” Stayt interrupted again, clearly losing patience.

He added: “You know where the money’s going. What do you think?”

Nandy responded: “I think this is the wrong way to go about allocating funding because in the end-“

“No, no,” Stayt snapped. “With respect, that’s the answer you gave us before about how the funding has been done.

“I’m asking you whether, having seen where the money is going, you think something is fundamentally wrong with where the money is being spent.

“Not the process or the politics behind it, just literally where the money is spent when you look at it. Do you think it’s fair?”

“No, I don’t think it’s fair,” Nandy answered. “I think it’s completely wrong that the North East, for example, is one of the biggest losers today when there’s huge potential in the North East and also a huge need.”

BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC One.

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