Councils spent an average of £20,000 to £30,000 in each bid for central government funding, and sometimes lost staff hours while work was done preparing the submissions.
Why it matters
The scrapped investment zones were initially billed as a major part of Liz Truss's growth agenda, but were effectively ditched by Rishi Sunak when he took over as prime minister. The wasted funds highlight the cost of the government's chaotic approach to economic policy.
What the papers say
The Guardian and The Mirror both report on the waste suffered by local authorities, while The Independent focuses on the government's plans to appoint regional levelling up directors, which have been put on hold and may be abandoned altogether.
How we got here
The government faced a backlash over the allocation of a £2.1 billion funding pot to more than 100 projects across the UK, with Rishi Sunak's wealthy constituency among the winners. The proposal to appoint 12 regional levelling up directors was contained in Michael Gove's white paper published last February, but no directors have yet been appointed and the recruitment process is now the subject of an internal review.
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