Wythenshawe Town Centre MCC p.MCC

Manchester's Wythenshawe scheme will go ahead despite having lost the LUF bid. Credit: via MCC

Manchester and Liverpool miss out on £60m Levelling Up Fund cash 

The city councils were among those left disappointed when the government announced the successful bidders for a share of the £2.1bn fund.  

North West authorities bid for around £850m from the second round of the Levelling Up Fund and were awarded £355m, 17% of the total awarded, making it the most successful region by the governments award breakdown, which listed London and the South East separately.

Lancaster City Council’s £50m bid for Eden Project North was the most notable success, while Blackpool Council won £40m for its Multiversity project.

However, Manchester City Council, Liverpool City Council, and Salford City Council each saw their bids for major regeneration projects rejected. 


Liverpool City Council submitted two bids to the Levelling Up Fund.

The first sought £20m for the expansion of Greatie Market, connectivity improvements and upgrading the green space at Limekiln Park.

The second bid was also for £20m and was focused on the Paddington South Innovation Zone.

The council would have used the money to acquire sites and install infrastructure to enable the development of spaces for materials chemistry and life science research and activity.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said: “I’m disappointed that the two Levelling Up bids we presented were not chosen for funding. The submitted projects at Great Homer Street Market and Paddington Village were of the highest quality and would have made a real difference in some of the most deprived communities in the country.

“Over the past 12 years of Tory governments, Liverpool has suffered some of the highest levels of cuts to local funding. If this government is serious about tackling regional inequality, they need to provide local authorities with the resources that empower us to deliver improvements. Otherwise levelling up is just an empty, rhetorical slogan.

“Significant work has gone into these projects and despite this setback we will continue to look for other opportunities to secure funding to secure the improvements our residents deserve.”


Manchester City Council’s £20m would have been spent on the regeneration of Wythenshawe town centre.

The authority acquired a key chunk of the district centre from St Modwen last year and has drawn up a development strategy for the area that could see up to 1,500 homes delivered.

Cllr Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are of course deeply disappointed that our Levelling Up bid to transform Wythenshawe Civic centre has not been successful. Manchester is the sixth most deprived place in the UK and our understanding is that Levelling Up is about creating real and lasting change in our communities. We have a fully developed plan for Wythenshawe that we felt embodied the ethos of the funding criteria perfectly.

“However, this is not the end for our plans. We remain completely committed to delivering our ambitious programme of investment in the heart of Wythenshawe.”


Like Manchester, Salford City Council was seeking £20m to support a major town centre regeneration project. 

Having acquired Eccles Shopping Centre from Columbia Threadneedle late last year, the council was hoping for a successful outcome from the LUF to support the project. 

Salford has previously stated the scheme will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the funding bid. 

Eccles Shopping Centre Salford CC p.Salford City Council

Salford bought the shopping centre last year. Credit: via Salford City Council

Other overlooked bids

Rochdale Council – £40m – £20m for improvements to the highway network around Heywood and Middleton and the refurbishment of Heywood Civic Centre. £20m to support two large projects: Central Retail Park and Station Square. 

Sefton Council – £30.3m – £20m for regenerating Bootle town centre, including redeveloping the 400,000 sq ft Strand shopping centre. The remaining £10.3m request was focused on Crosby Town Centre and the building of a learning, skills, health and well-being hub. 

Tameside Council – £35m – Tameside wanted to use Levelling Up Fund money to improve Stalybridge and Denton. Of the £35m requested, the council wanted to allocate £20m towards the delivery of a cultural quarter in Stalybridge Town Centre.  

The remaining fund would have gone towards improving the public realm and active travel options in Denton. 

Warrington Council – £47m  

  • £19.7m for an inclusive sports centre at Victoria Park 
  • £9.4m to improve active travel routes between Burtonwood, Winwick, Culcheth, and Warrington 
  • £17.5m for improving the cycle network along the east to west corridor in Warrington. 

Bolton Council – £40m 

Bolton had sought LUF cash to support a series of projects as part of its town centre regeneration, including converting the old Debenhams unit into a leisure facility, turning Le Mans Crescent into a four-star hotel, and improving wayfinding and public realm between Victoria Square and Nelson Square. 

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Morecambe will be getting money for it`s “Eden Project”, did they vote Tory in the last election?

By Anonymous

Clearly an anti city agenda going on here. Levelling up provides no funding to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Nottingham. But Richmond in North Yorkshire got funding! I wonder why?

By Anonymous

Seems a bit odd to me that you have to bid for something to benefit your area? does TFL have to do this with the vast amount that gets spent on Crossrail? Silvertown Tunnel? Seems like a desperate plea to make you forget the 12 years of Tory


I note the article in the times noting that significantly more money from the levelling up budget has gone the the south east than the north . Also a lot more to richer council areas (controlled by conservatives) than to more deprived councils . So much for levelling up !

By George

    Hi George – just worth noting that by our calculations the South (South East, South West, and London) secured around £548m. The North (North West, North East, Yorkshire) netted around £584m. – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

Should be called “the Levelling up Lottery”, and for some they`ve probably got more chance of winning The National Lottery. Why waste peoples time and energy working up these bids when most hardly get a look in. I thought the Liverpool bid for Great Homer Street was flimsy and not convincing, as this popular market only operates at weekends . It was as if some local councillor dreamed it up and thought cos` we submit under the heading of “Community Market” that would bring it home.

By Anonymous

Rishi Sunak’s constituency won £19m while Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Council with a much larger population lost out.

By Anonymous

Bolton voted Tory in last election and has the only Tory council in Greater Manchester yet still gets nothing from a Tory government

By Anonymous

The rejection of the Paddington South bid is Particularly galling as this is one of the main drivers for regeneration and employment in the LCR. The petty distribution of funds seemingly based on Political bias really sums up the inefficiency of the present government in determing economic development for the UK.

By Liverpolitis

Chorley never gets anything because we have Lindsay Hoyle as our MP, as Speaker other parties do not stand against him at elections – therefore there are no votes to buy.

By Chorley

What a shock that Liverpool & Manchester didn’t get any money from the tories lol

By Levelling Up Manager

I am a frequent visitor to Richmond for work purposes. A more beautiful, historic and prosperous corner of England it would be hard to find. The government’s decision comes dangerously close to pork-barrelling.

By Sceptical

No shock there

By Anonymous

Manchester has levelled itself up.Liverpool with proper governance ,should also have no difficulty. in doing the same, and Warrington is booming. The places which got money are the places struggling in the North West. Morecambe looks like a town in rural Bulgaria, poor shops, run down side streets,no amenities . A nice view from the promenade and a statue of Eric, is not enough to get people to visit it, and spend money. The town should be thriving, as it is close to both the Lakes and Dales. This Eden project plan, will transform its economy.

By Elephant

wow Manchester not getting exactly what it wants from the Goverment, I’m shocked! Liverpool being rejected… not so surprising. “managed decline” continues

By mike

How is it “levelling up” when the south gets the same funding as the north :’) surely that’s maintaining the gap


@MB The South also has a lot of poor areas which are often overlooked in their regions eg Portsmouth (often described as a northern city in the south), Southampton, parts of Bournemouth (Boscombe is as sad as any run down areas I’ve seen in the north), the unglamorous ex-industrial and coastal parts of Kent and Essex, etc. Levelling Up is never just a north project, important though that definitely is.


There is this myth, that it is all strawberries and cream in the South. Cornwall and the Isle of Wight are the two poorest parts of England. North Yorkshire and East Cheshire are as wealthy as the wealthiest parts of the South East. London is the place which gets all the investment, not the wider South, London is in the South. People in Devon have the same rubbish trains, we have. Does anyone really think that people in Gravesend are better off than people living in South Manchester? You have access to better jobs in the North West, than the South West. The difference is we have the scars of our industrial past, which makes our towns look shabby. The North West is still the third richest region in the U.K. and growing daily.

By Elephant

The point of the Levelling Up Fund was to give money to places that were always missing out. Big cities like Manchester and Liverpool have received huge amounts of cash in the past. It’s about time the smaller places got something.

By Matthew Jones

@Elephant, No Manchester has not ‘levelled itself up’, not sure how you’ve come to that conclusion, but the evidence shows that the most deprived areas in the country are disproportionately located within Greater Manchester, we lag behind many similar size cites across the Europe despite out relative national wealth and these contrasts are stark once you visit beyond the 2qm radios that is the city centre and a small few suburbs, vast majority of Greater Manchester falls in the lower quartile in the Indices of Multiple deprivation and this has gone progressively worse since 2011 and the Tories.

By Anonymous

Liverpool misses out on Levelling Up funding again under the Tories, but would Labour really make much difference. Liverpool were almost home and dry some years ago when they tried to get their tram network built but at the last minute the money was pulled by Alistair Darling. Liverpool had spent £70 million buying the tracks and were left holding an expensive baby, when the tram would have been a major asset to the city`s transport network.

By Anonymous

Middleton and Heywood’s bid rejected, despite having a Tory MP with a majority in the low hundreds who was largely elected on the levelling up agenda. He might be looking for a new job soon!

By Anonymous

I agree with Elephant. Manchester is doing a pretty good job of levelling itself up. The more the city can distance itself with this terrible.tory government, the better

By Ray Von

Half agree with Elephant. The more Manchester prospers to more it will look like London, and every that goes with that. Like knowing that within a mile of thriving world financial hub there will be some of most deprived people in the UK, similarly if Salford Quays thrives it not necessarily transforming the lives of working class people in Ordsall. The thing I worry about is not just the contrasting fortunes in the same place, it’s that inner core of GM is going to build a massive cluster of mainly young graduate professionals who went they hit family formation are going to find the outer boroughs of GM have not built enough housing to take them. They will out compete the locals, and that will create a lot of tension. In that sense I think Places for Everyone is too timid, not too bold. As for Liverpool it needs a Kung Fu Panda moment – there is no secret sauce, the person who can make the difference is the one you see in the mirror everyday. The Tories will never give you the money, the Labour Party has to fix the NHS, trains, and other broken stuff.

By Rich X

Some nonsense being talked on here by people with short memories hoping for a glorious revolution that was never here and will never come. Manchester has greatly prospered in the last 25 yrs or so but mostly thanks to its own efforts. Not just the buildings but the higher paid high tech jobs and the infrastructure too. Liverpool a little less so but for the same reasons. The North south divide is not an easy one to cross and that will prove the case whichever of our lords and masters occupy number 10. Always has. MPs are the ultimate seagull managers, they fly in for a short time , make a lot of noise , dump on everyone and then are gone. Real long term power exists elsewhere, in the many many non governmental bodies ,financial institutions and Civil service that actually run this great game regardless of what colour or political persuasion they pretend they are. Change can come, look at Scotland, if you must, different circumstances but the levers of power can be pulled. I’m not convinced however we have enough hands pulling in the same direction.

By Anonymous

I know about Manchester’s statistics anonymous, in comparison to other European cities and you are right. I wish Manchester and Liverpool ,looked like Lyons and Vienna but they don’t, so we have to be creative and work with what we have, which is a bag of peanuts in comparison to what those cities would get in infrastructure investment from their governments . The biggest problem in our regional cities remains transport. Until this is properly addressed, we will continue to lag behind our European equivalents. George Osborne’s plan of creating a fast integrated rail network between Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester airport and Leeds, was the best policy from any government since the war for the North, creating a mega city and allowing millions of people access to jobs, quickly. Again this policy has been woefully underfunded and we are still waiting more than a decade after it was agreed for spades in the ground.

By Elephant

Did Cheshire East make a bid? Are we eligible for levelling up? – we are part of the North West. I am serious about believing that since the split of Cheshire, it is regarded as “serving” Manchester and Liverpool, and that it is becoming a county of dormitory towns.

By Sylvia Dyke

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below