Rishi Sunak, trailing in the two-horse race to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was criticized on Friday for saying he had previously pushed for policy changes to divert funds from deprived urban areas.
The ruling Conservative Party is choosing a new leader after Johnson was forced to resign when dozens of ministers resigned in protest at a series of scandals and missteps. Party members vote by mail to select Sunak or Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
A poll shows Sunak, who served as finance minister between February 2020 and July 2022, is trailing Truss as the two candidates scour the country for votes.
His comments came in a video released Friday by New Statesman magazine, which he said was filmed on July 29 at a meeting of Conservative Party members in Tunbridge Wells, a relatively affluent area in southeast England. ‘England.
Sunak is seen telling an audience: ‘I’ve managed to start changing the funding formulas to make sure areas like this get the funding they deserve, because we inherited a bunch of formulas from the Labor Party that pushed all the funding into inner city areas…that needed to be undone.I started the work of undoing that.
The New Statesman did not say who filmed the short video, and Reuters could not independently verify the date or location where the video was made. The context of his comments was not shown.
Asked about the comments, a Sunak campaign source referred to reforms to ensure rural areas receive funding alongside urban centers, highlighting his efforts, announced in March 2020, to redefine the rules used by the Ministry of Finance to allocate investments.
“The leveling is not just about inner cities, but also about cities and rural areas across the country that also need help,” the source said, of Johnson’s policy to reduce inequality regional.
“As he travels across the country, he’s seen non-metro areas that need better bus services, faster broadband, or high-quality schools. That’s what he will deliver as a Prime Minister.”
Truss did not immediately comment on the video.
However, the opposition Labor Party seized the video as evidence that the Tories, in power since 2010, are not determined to spread wealth across the country.
“Public money must always be distributed fairly and spent where it is most needed,” Labour’s spokeswoman on Leveling up, Lisa Nandy, said in a letter to the government, describing the comments as “deeply of concern” and calling for an investigation.
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