Milton Keynes has lost out on a multi-million-pound bid to create a new university for the city.
Last year, a bid was submitted Milton Keynes City Council and Cranfield University had joined forces to Government’s Levelling-up Fund to provide a home for MK:U, a new university focussed on high-tech skills.
Despite support from the City Council, local MPs and other regional partners, the bid did not receive any cash.
Funding would have gone towards expanding the range of degree apprenticeships and undergraduate degrees.
The lack of funding for Milton Keynes comes as concerns have been raised in the national press that the government has funnelled cash towards the consistencies of favoured MPs and better-off areas, such as the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s affluent North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond.
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said:“It is hugely disappointing that the Conservative government has yet again overlooked Milton Keynes for investment.
"It would be totally right for most of the funding to be awarded to more deprived areas of the country. However, the sad thing is that everyone can see that in reality the awards are another example of cronyism in the Conservative Party.
"Milton Keynes seems to suffer repeatedly because overall we are not one of the most deprived areas, we are in the Southeast and not part of the ‘Red Wall’, and we don’t seem to have MPs capable of making our case in Westminster.”
Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, added: “Sadly, it is another example of how this Conservative government is failing our city and taking our contribution the national economy for granted. You have to ask why our MPs have failed to secure funding for our city yet again. It is also another example of how the government has no clear idea on how to get this country out of the economic blackhole they’ve created over the past 13 years.
"Rather than awarding funding based on a real strategy for growth, they’ve handed money to crony MPs, political favourites, and even to some of the richest parts of the country. Only today entrepreneur James Dyson has said the government lacks a plan to boost growth and this is clear evidence of how they are failing our city, this country, and our economic future.”
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, concluded: “Creating a world-class university with an undergraduate student population remains one of the key objectives that we have as a city.
"We will continue to push for ways to achieve that. I don’t think pitting place against place, north vs south, in a competition for cash and then awarding lots of it to favoured people and schemes is the right way to do that, but we will keep trying to do the best for Milton Keynes against these odds.”