NEW Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis declared his town is ‘bearing a disproportionate burden’ of government cutbacks, during a Parliamentary debate.
The Labour man, who was this week awarded an MBE for 15 years of military service carried out before he became an MP earlier this year, laid into the Government’s strategy during a debate on Barnsley’s economic regeneration.
“Changes to welfare being pursued by this government are hitting the most vulnerable parts of the country the hardest, and Barnsley is on the frontline,” he said.
“More than 25 per cent of our jobs are in the public sector, one of the higher rates in the country. The loss of many of these jobs will take tens of millions of pounds out of the local economy, just as benefit changes start to bite.
“We’ve taken huge strides to overcome the stagnation and decline that hit us the last time the Conservatives were in power, but these cuts have the potential to push us back years.
“The Government’s approach is ensuring that places like Barnsley will bear a disproportionate burden.
“Before they go further down the road they have embarked on, this Government has a duty, an obligation, to stop and think about the effect it will have in places like Barnsley.”
Mr Jarvis criticised the local enterprise partnerships introduced by Deputy PM Nick Clegg to replace the scrapped regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.
“The regional development agencies themselves were not without their failings, but the local enterprise partnerships which have replaced them are short on funding and short on power,” he said.
“They are not even guaranteed the money for their own start-up costs, never mind for investment in support of business.”
He said the £1.4 billion funding for the LEPs was already 10 times oversubscribed.
He added: “The problems facing Barnsley are indicative of those facing towns all over the country.
“The message, to me at least, seems self-evident - you can sacrifice everything to balancing the books, in a way which actually undermines the economic stability of the country, or you can tackle these problems head on.
“That is not a request for unlimited spending, or for an end to reform – it is just a request to do your bit so we can fulfil our potential.”