A minister has accepted a council’s “frustration” with the bidding process for levelling up funding.
Levelling Up Minister and Redcar MP Jacob Young said, despite that, he believed it was delivering real change to communities.
His comments come after Durham County Council announced it was seeking a judicial review of the process, after it spent £1.2m on five failed bids.
Mr Young said the government was “investing in the length and breadth of the country”.
Speaking on BBC One’s Politics North, the Conservative said: “In County Durham we did actually fund a project in levelling up fund round one.
“I know that they’re frustrated that they weren’t successful in round two or three, but the reality is we are investing in the length and breadth of the country.”
Durham County Council had been awarded levelling up funding for projects in Bishop Auckland.
A rule change meant any successful areas in round one would not benefit in the next round.
The council, led by an alliance of Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Independents, claims it was left in the dark regarding feedback.
Mr Young said the department had changed its approach to funding in recent announcements.
He said £1.1bn was being allocated to 55 towns around the country to allow them to work on new long-term plans.
“In the North East, that’s places like Jarrow and Washington but also Eston and Hartlepool,” he added.
Joe Morris, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Hexham, said levelling up had failed to transform towns and cities.
“I don’t think that people will look at their local communities now after 14 years of Conservative government and feel they are better off,” he said.
“I walk through streets in Prudhoe, I walk through streets in Hexham, I walk through streets all across the constituency that I’m fighting for, and you know people feel significantly poorer.”
Source from BBC
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