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Liz Truss has pledged to review levelling up funding across the country – as she attempts to claw back from her public sector pay clanger.

The Foreign Secretary, whose leadership bid has handed a boost when a video of Rishi Sunak bragging about diverting cash away from deprived urban areas surfaced, will outline her plans at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

It comes days after she was forced to abandon plans which would have seen public servants outside London and the south east forced to take a pay cut.

The blunder today saw her branded “Levelling Down Liz” by Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner on Twitter.

Ms Truss, who remains favourite to succeed Boris Johnson, will outline plans to create low tax, low regulation “Investment Zones” on brownfield sites.

She claims she will review business rates and reform leftover EU regulations to support farmers and food producers.

Ms Truss’s campaign was handed a boost after Rishi Sunak was filmed bragging about diverting funds from deprived urban areas ( Getty Images)

The cabinet member said that levelling up the country is “now more important than ever”, saying: “You cannot tax your way to growth.

“That’s why my bold plan will kickstart the economy and level up in a Conservative way, standing up for people who do the right thing, who work hard, and want a better life for themselves and their children – no matter where they are from.”

Her campaign has been supported by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who said: “Liz Truss understands that our regions represent a potential gold mine of growth, the West Midlands especially. When we fire on all cylinders, the whole of the UK stands to benefit.

“She has a bold vision for our regional economies, with the policies we need to make levelling up a reality. Her plan for investment zones, for instance, will give us a powerful tool for unlocking new investment, jobs, and growth.”

The Foreign Secretary came under fire earlier this week after proposing sweeping pay cuts outside London and the south east ( AFP via Getty Images)

Her campaign said she review the levelling up formula to fix underinvestment in regional infrastructure, and ensure transport links are “better integrated”.

She says she will continue with the government’s existing £500 million commitment to restoring the Beeching lines, reconnecting more towns by rail.

Jake Berry MP, Chair of the Northern Research Group, said: “Liz Truss can be trusted to keep her promises. And like me, she stood on an election manifesto in 2019 that promised to level up the country. It is great to see that she has a plan to deliver on these promises if she is elected Prime Minister.

“She wants to level up in a conservative way. Cutting taxes to put money back in hardworking people’s pockets and unleash British business will be a boon to the north.

“Politicians in Westminster have often sung a good song about addressing regional inequality, with varying degrees of success. I firmly believe that Liz’s plan for levelling will deliver a bright future for the north, and the entire United Kingdom.”

Her bid to become the next PM was dented this week by a huge backlash over her plans for regional pay boards, which she claimed would save £8.8 billion.

Tory leadership election 2022

On Thursday evening Ms Truss was confronted by an angry voter who told her that her ill-fated ‘levelling down’ proposal was “offensive” as the fallout over public sector pay rumbles on.

Challenged by a worker from Newcastle on why she felt he should be paid less than someone who did the same job in Guildford, Ms Truss declined to apologise.

The audience member asked her: “Why did you announce a well researched and fully-costed policy in which you openly said you valued the work of teachers, nurses and police officers in Newcastle where I work, less than you value those in Guildford, for example? We’re having this election because of poor judgment and trust. Why should we trust your judgment?”

Ms Truss repeated her claim that she had decided to drop the policy because it was being misinterpreted.

She was asked by the member: “Will you apologise? Because it was actually quite offensive.”

Ms Truss stopped short of apologising, saying: “I have been very clear that I will not go ahead with this policy, and that I have made a decision to do that straight away.

“And I’ve been upfront about that. I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of, of saying publicly that this is not working as I wanted it to work, and therefore, I have changed the position on it and I’m not going ahead with it.”

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