Pendle peer dismisses Government Stronger Towns Fund as 'half a packet of peanuts'

Colne-based Liberal Democrat Lord Tony Greaves has dismissed the new Stronger Towns Fund announced today by the Government as 'half a packet of peanuts'.

Lord Greaves
Lord Greaves

He claims that the amount that Pendle would get in the first year – if it’s shared out proportionately – would be just enough to knock down the old lavatory block at Colne bus station.

Tony Greaves, who is also a Pendle councillor in Colne, said: “The total of £281m. for the North West sounds a lot of money to most people, but it’s going to be spread over seven years. If it’s shared out among all the councils in the North West roughly in line with population, Pendle might get about £40,000 in the first year.”

Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee will consider a report on Thursday evening about tackling the old, long closed and derelict lavatory block on Colne bus station. The cost of knocking this down with associated work was estimated two years ago at £37,500.

Lord Greaves said: “It sort of puts this new Government announcement in perspective. Frankly, in public spending terms it’s half a packet of peanuts.”

Coun. David Whipp, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Pendle Council and on Lancashire County Council, said: “It seems as though the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership will be in charge of this money so it may be that it will all be used to support local businesses, not infrastructure or town improvement schemes.

“If it’s county based it might all get swallowed up in Preston, Blackburn and Lancaster, with nothing left for us out east and up in the hills.”

David Whipp added that the £40,000 a year compares with the £3m. that Pendle is being forced to cut from its budget in the next two years, and the £24m. that has already been cut from the money Pendle Council has got from the Government in the past nine years.