There was much bro-ha-ha yesterday on the Towns Fund, 40 of 45 recipients of which are conservative seats.and excludes the 4th most deprived area, Hull.
The methodology an index of economic resilience, is supposed to be made public, it hasnt yet.
I think that despite being supposedly ‘objective’ it achieves its results two ways:
- If you look at the language of the levelling up strategy it makes a distinction between cities (the hubs of growth) and towns (around them forgotten places), so it will automatically exclude many labor seats in cities. Why not also a cities fund, of high growth cities is the priority?
- It has a number of metrics, including inaccessibility. Indices of economic resilience are all of the rage at the moment as a means of determining the resilience of a place to responding to economic shocks (such as a major industrial closure or a recession). Like any composited index there is nothing objective about them. If you weight inaccessibility high enough you will automatically bias towards rural, well off conservative seats.
The noises yesterday were that it was objective, Jenryk did not produce a list, rather maps were produced for minister to comment on. So I suggest this is what happened. Ministers looked at the map on inaccessibility and said give this greatest weight. Of course had civil servants been doing their job they would had done a statistical test on spatial correlation and found it biased towards seats of one party, and so unlawful in the same way lady Porters ‘priority areas’ policy was found to be unlawful – pure pork barrel politics designed to fix elections and not fix problems. In fact had they done statistical tests they would have found the distribution negatively correlated with deprivation.
The senior civil service would have missed this as:
- They wouldn’t know what a spatial statistical test was if it slapped them in the face
- Having been bullied into timidity by Cummings they dare not raise any objections
- Hence they have become party political patsies not independent defenders of the law.