MP says council's 'slow' submission for Towns Fund bid led to missing out on first round of millions of pounds of funding
A Yorkshire MP has accused a council of being too slow in submitting a bid for a lucrative town deal from the Government as he reassured constituents that his area was still “very much in play” for investment.
The Chancellor announced on Wednesday the first 45 towns to be successful in securing millions of pounds of investment.
In Yorkshire, nearly £200m will be handed out in the first batch of the deals, representing nearly a fifth of the total pot.
Whitby will get £17.1m, Grimsby £20.9m, Wakefield £25m, Scunthorpe £20.9m, Stocksbridge £24.1m, Morley £24.3m, Goldthorpe £23.1m, Castleford £23.9m and Scarborough £20.2m.
A further 56 places are yet to find out how much funding they will receive as part of the scheme.
But in a statement posted on social media, Conservative MP Robbie Moore said both Keighley and Shipley had missed out on the first round because Bradford Council, which covers both constituencies, were “not as efficient as other local authorities”.
Mr Moore and Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies have long campaigned for their areas to break away from Labour-run Bradford Council and form a new authority.
In his statement, Mr Moore said the council had “operated on a much slower timetable, which resulted in our Keighley Towns Fund bid only being submitted to the Government only three weeks ago, the same also applies to Shipley Towns Fund bid”.
He said: “Therefore the Government is still reviewing our bid and a funding announcement will be made in a few months once the bid has been considered.
“The reality is if our Labour-run Bradford Council had submitted our bid last autumn - like many other local authorities - the bid would have been considered in time for the Budget.”
But Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said Mr Moore’s statement was “disappointing”.
Coun Ross-Shaw said: “Bradford Council has invested over £300,000 in the Towns Fund bidding process so that we can put the best possible Town Investment Plan forward for Keighley.
“The truth is around half of the plans from across the country are still being assessed by the government as many other towns submitted plans the same time we did. This approach was fully supported by the Towns Fund Board of which Robbie is a member.
“Robbie should spend less time trying to get cheap headlines and more on doing his job. At a time of national crisis, this is not a time for playing petty politics but for coming together to jointly promote Keighley’s case.”