Burnley leader describes Government 'hardship fund' as drop in the ocean

The leader of Burnley Borough Council has cautiously welcomed a pot of money promised by the Government to support struggling towns and areas, but believes it is still not enough to offset austerity cuts.
Coun. Mark TownsendCoun. Mark Townsend
Coun. Mark Townsend

The £1.6bn Stronger Towns Fund, announced this week by the Government, will be broken down into £600m., which communities in any part of England can bid for, and £1bn allocated using a needs-based formula, with £281m. promised for North-West England.

However, Burnley's Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend, described the pot as 'a drop in the ocean' and said that the money per head of population in Burnley would come nowhere near to what has been lost in the last decade from Government austerity cuts.

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He said: “Whilst any funding is to be welcomed it has to be put in context. This needs to be additional money and not the replacement for EU funding. It’s £281m, over seven years for the whole of the North-West and will equate to just over £35 per head of population.

"Bearing in mind Burnley has suffered cuts of £374 per head of population since 2010 with more yet to come this is a drop in the ocean of what we need.

"There are still big questions as to who will get the money, who decides where it should be spent and what are the type of things it can be spent on. This needs to be just the starting point for a sustained long term investment plan for places like Burnley that have been unfairly starved of cash through austerity.”