Some of England’s poorest regions are losing out on extra funding from Europe while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland benefit from the additional largesse, the Financial Times has learnt.

The government has determined there is insufficient time for the regions to spend a sudden windfall after the precipitate fall of the pound boosted the value of euro-denominated European Union grants by about a fifth.

To help them spend the money to fight recession, the European Commission recently offered an unprecedented six-month extension to its December 2008 deadline to all countries for

unused funds as part of a €200bn (£178bn) economic stimulus package.

The UK took up the option for devolved regions but rejected it for England, casting a shadow over Gordon Brown’s tour of recession-hit areas and angering people in Merseyside, where the cabinet met on Thursday and which has missed out on a £10m exchange rate windfall.

Financial Times