A new study cited in the independent states that Sunderland and other poorer areas of Britain seen their emergency funds reduced by up to 35% as the government diverted support for the covid-19 to wealthier areas of the country, despite the fact that the they were suffering less from the virus. The figure lost by the area stands at £3 million, with neighbouring areas South Tyneside and Gateshead also having lost £2 million each. Instead, Conservative held areas such as Buckinghamshire, Windsor, Oxfordshire and Surrey received ample increases in funding.

The move comes amid Sunderland being one of the worst affected areas in Britain by the virus, and one of the highest proportionally outside of London. Steve Reed, the shadow local government secretary, condemned the way funds had been allocated after ministers “promised to fund ‘whatever it takes’ to get communities through this pandemic”.

“Now the government is cutting emergency funding for areas with the highest rates of Covid-19 infection and diverting it to areas that are suffering less,”

“This money was earmarked for fighting Covid-19, so it must go to the communities that need it the most. Emergency funding should go to areas with the highest rates of infection.”

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool city region, said its authorities believed ministers had “pulled the rug from under them”, after promising they would receive “whatever it takes”.

“Now it’s ‘take whatever you are given’ and it’s noticeable that it’s Labour areas that have missed out in the second tranche,” he protested.