NORTH Belfast MP John Finucane has hit out at the Tories Levelling Up grants, as the list of those who missed out on funding grows.

Among the projects which had unsuccessfully applied for the money were the Belfast Rapid Transit Phase Two which is set to see the Glider service rolled out in North and South Belfast, the Yorkgate Train Station redevelopment, Ulster University and Ulster Museum.
 Whilst a 20 rugby clubs shared £5.1m, West Belfast based Naomh Eoin CLG were also denied funding.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “Council issued letters of support to the following organisations applying for funding from Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund – Crusaders FC, NMNI – Ulster Museum, Osborne & Co – Belfast Waterside, Portview, Ulster Rugby, Ulster University, Translink, Naomh Eoin CLG, Catalyst Inc and Artemis Technologies.”
Meanwhile, the Department for Infrastructure confirmed that they submitted three bids to round two of the Levelling Up Fund including Belfast Rapid Transit 2.

A Spokesperson for Translink added: “Applications to the levelling up fund were submitted for the York Street station project and Foyle Metro zero emissions bus project.
“Neither received funding under the scheme, but this will not affect the delivery of either project.
“The new York Street station will provide better connectivity for everyone, particularly with the opening of the new Ulster University campus and the planned City Quays development.
"Passengers will enjoy modern, more accessible amenities including a new Changing Places facility and better links to walking and cycling options with more access to cycle parking and local cycle networks. A new footbridge will link to wider platforms and new canopies.”
North Belfast MP John Finucane has described the fund as a “power grab aimed at further undermining the role of local ministers".

“Any efforts to invest and regenerate communities is welcome, but its decisions should not be taken over the heads of local government departments in a Tory power grab,” he said.

“The Tories are taking decisions that should have been delivered by locally elected ministers and departments, and they have failed to invest in areas that need regeneration the most. 

“The decision not to support the York Street area is completely lacking in transparency and the process is clearly flawed which has a major impact upon the city of Belfast that badly needs investment in addressing years of underinvestment in infrastructure.
 “No one seriously believes that a Tory government that has fed inequality, implemented cruel austerity policies, and cut public services for over a decade has any interest in levelling up anything.”

This scheme should have been implemented through ministers elected here, not by Tory ministers who haven’t got a single vote here and will never act in the interests of the north. 

“The same approach has been applied to Scotland and Wales with repeated attempts to undermine the autonomy of the devolved regions. It’s unacceptable.

“The British Government should focus its efforts on restoring the Assembly and Executive and ending the DUP’s blockade on government.”