MORE Lottery funding should be given to areas like St Helens, says MP Dave Watts.

He made the claim after the National Lottery revealed it had distributed funding amounting to £2.9m to the St Helens area in 2013.

He said the Industrial Communities Alliance published an analysis in 2012 that showed that Britain’s industrial communities were under-funded by the National Lottery.

Mr Watts said: “A lot of the lottery money is raised by areas like St Helens, but they don’t get their fair share of resources.

“There’s not enough for ground roots interests such as choirs and brass bands. We’re lobbying the Arts Council to make money available and we will keep on doing that.

“Areas like Barnsley and St Helens don’t get their fair share of lottery funds.”

But those in charge of funding allocations argued that some of the funding nominally going to the big cities helped much wider areas, including industrial communities.

The ICA claims industrial areas of England, Scotland and Wales receive much less per person than the national average and that since the Lottery began those communities have missed out on £3billion in funding.

The Alliance said between 1995 and 2011 the Lottery awarded £24.2bn, equivalent to £399 per head of population yet in the same period it granted £762m to 19 authorities within older industrial areas, a figure equating to £252 per head and just 63 per cent of the national average.

Across St Helens, 28 grants were awarded last year.

A National Lottery spokesman said the largest grant in St Helens in 2013 was £1.5 million for the Hearts of Glass arts project.

Other large grants awarded were: £50,000 for Rainford Road playing fields; £282,291 to The Citadel Arts Centre and £181,391 to St Helens District Citizens Advice Bureau.

Other grants included: £1,150 to Fit 50's Keep Fit Group; £10,000 to St Aidan's C of E Community Primary School, Billinge for playground surfacing and £2,875 to Wheelie Walkers to take wheelchair and mobility scooter users into the countryside