Barnsley Council leader “appalled” that Barnsley lost out on budget funding – as 39 Conservative areas to receive cash boost
The leader of Barnsley Council say he is “appalled” that the borough is at the “back of the queue” for economic help, after the Chancellor announced the budget this week.
Although Barnsley is set to benefit from the budget in the form of a new bus rapid transit link, it has been placed in the second category of areas in line for economic support – behind the chancellor’s own wealthy constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire, where the average house price is £247,453, according to Rightmove.
The average cost of a house in Barnsley is £151,995.
In fact, 39 of the 45 places to receive a share of £1bn in funding from the “town deals” are represented by Conservative MPs.
Coun Sir Steve Houghton CBE, leader of the Labour controlled Barnsley Council, said: “I’m appalled that Barnsley has been pushed to ‘category two’, placing us at the back of the queue for economic support.
“Even more so on reading that the Chancellor has identified his own Richmond seat as ‘category one’.
“The Chancellor’s budget is a devastating blow for Barnsley and a kick in the teeth for all our key workers who have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to keep the borough going, protecting people and saving lives.
“It’s full of broken promises for all of our residents who voted for the Prime Minister in the hope of him making good on his vows to look after places like Barnsley.
“I will continue to fight the government on their decisions, which continually seek to widen the northern gap rather than close it.
“The Government might not be willing to help people of Barnsley, but the Council most definitely is. We will stand by our residents, communities and business, and we will recover our borough.”
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis has also written to the Chancellor, demanding he and the Treasury publish the allocation formula “immediately.”
He added: “It beggars belief that the Chancellor’s relatively affluent Richmond constituency is considered to be in greater need of levelling up investment than Barnsley and Sheffield.
“It’s yet again proof that this Government’s actions are levelling South Yorkshire down – pushing our region and some of the poorest places in the North to the back of the queue for investment.
“I’m pushing the Chancellor and the Treasury to publish the allocation formula immediately. They must dispel any notion that this is a repeat of the Towns Fund fiasco.”