I feel I must respond to your article “MP and Council Leader clash over fund aid” on Friday, April 12th. I did not realise I had clashed with Gordon Birtwistle MP on this issue. What is really going on here is that he is trying to manufacture a story for his political purposes.
First, the bid for the Government’s Regional Growth Fund which I referred to covers the whole of Pennine Lancashire.
If it is successful it will enable companies that wish to locate onto the new Burnley Bridge site, for example, to get grant support locally. The firms specially mentioned were not within the Burnley “electoral boundary” but the one Mr Birtwistle refers to as a Ribble Valley firm, for example, is a great firm a matter of a few hundred yards “outside” Burnley and provides employment for Burnley residents. Second, in addition to this bid which is “public” the council has worked on and supported two other bids for funding. These bids are commercially sensitive and it is not appropriate to give any detail at this stage.
Mr Birtwistle says it is “an absolute disgrace” the council is not looking to take advantage of this Government Fund. He should get his facts straight because we are. We are absolutely committed to creating jobs and economic growth and have even created a £1m. Business Support Fund to give direct help to businesses. I will leave your readers to judge where the disgrace is here.
Coun. Julie Cooper Leader of Burnley Council