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Barnsley MP slams PM’s ‘derisory’ towns funding offer

Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, has slammed the Prime Minister’s new offer of funding for struggling towns as ‘derisory’.

Under their new ‘Stronger Towns Fund’, the Government has pledged £1bn until 2026 to towns who have ‘not shared in the proceeds of growth’, with another £600m available through a bidding process.

However, just £197m has been earmarked for local authorities across the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber for the next seven years.

Since 2010, councils across Yorkshire and the Humber region have been subject to cuts worth £932m.

According to the Centre for Cities recent report on austerity, Barnsley Council alone have experienced cuts to budgets of £145m since 2010.

This means the entire funding pledge for region barely covers the funds lost by this single local authority.

Nationally, councils will see cuts of £7.3bn this decade.

The Barnsley MP directly challenged the Government on the proposal in the House of Commons, stating the 40% cuts to Barnsley Council budgets and asking the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government:

“Does the Minister honestly thinks that today’s announcement makes up for the huge cuts that the Government have made to my town?”

She commented afterwards: “It has taken the Government almost a decade to finally acknowledge what people across the country have been telling them for too long: that their policy of austerity has had a devastating impact on our communities.

“Any money to address the damage caused by this Government to towns like Barnsley is welcome, but the Prime Minister’s derisory offer falls woefully short of what’s required to do so.

“Under the proposal, it will take the best part of a decade for the entire Yorkshire and Humber region to receive little more than Barnsley local authority alone has lost through cuts under this Government.

“The Prime Minister’s token gesture won’t fool people here in Barnsley, where people have seen first-hand the damage the Tories continue to inflict on our community”.

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