A £1.6bn fund is being launched by the government to boost less well-off towns after Brexit over the next six years.
The announcement indicates that Theresa May must have spent the entire weekend up a ladder in the back garden of Number ten giving the Conservative Party’s magic money tree a good old shake. Again.
Only last week, the Prime Minister had to shimmy up the tree and pluck £33m from the abundant branches to settle a lawsuit filed against the government by Eurotunnel in response to the disastrous £14m contract – also funded by the magic money tree – for SeaBorne Freight Ltd, the ferry firm with no ferries.
The ‘Stronger Towns Fund’ pot will be broken down into £1bn, given out using a needs-based formula, and £600m communities can bid for.
And by ‘bid’ the Tory government mean ‘whichever community signs a blood-oath that everyone will vote Conservative at the next general election’.
More than half of the money will go to the north of England and the Midlands, but Labour called it a bribe to influence MPs in Leave-supporting areas to back the PM’s Brexit deal.
Theresa May has denied this, saying that in no way does promising vast sums of money to people in the hope that they will turn around and support her deal constitute a ‘bribe’, any more than her blind hatred of foreigners and anti-immigration stance makes her a xenophobe.
The Prime Minister insisted: “These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them.
“Obviously the money is not as much as they would have received from the EU had Britain voted to stay in the union, but it is better than a kick in the teeth. Which is what I’ll be giving David Cameron, next time I see him.”