The East Londonderry MP said.
"During the first round of the UK Levelling Up Fund I raised the need to make sure that Northern Ireland got its fair allocation as set out in the guidelines for this fund.
I asked the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities about the prospectus which stated that at least 9% of total UK Levelling Up funds in this initial round of funds were envisaged for Scotland; 5% for Wales; and 3% for Northern Ireland. This meant that according to the original prospectus Northern Ireland should have had applications approved of around £51 million. However, Northern Ireland's approved applications came in at £1.7 million less than was anticipated.
At the same time in the same round of funding Scotland applied for and received £18.7 million more than anticipated and Wales £37.4 million more than was anticipated. This meant that Wales applied for and received almost 50% more cash than envisaged, Scotland 10% more and NI 3% LESS.
Put another way if we had 'punched above our weight' to the same degree as Wales appears to have done (50%) we would have received another £25 million in this round of funding alone.
The UK Government’s commitment to levelling up and maximising opportunities for each region is welcome and overdue, however much more must be done here in Northern Ireland to establish why full benefit wasn't obtained this time round and ensure that as the next round of applications commences shortly the same mistakes are not repeated to ensure regions like ours benefit fully from these funds.
There are projects in my own constituency which would be eligible for this funding and could provide much needed jobs and investment."
Note to Editor;
The following are the figures alluded to in the fund prospectus and then the actual amounts allocated once the applications were processed;
Scotland 9% - £153 million
Wales 5% - £85 million
Northern Ireland 3% - £51 million
Scotland 10.1% - £171.7 million
Wales 7.2% - £122.4 million
Northern Ireland 2.9% - £49.3 million