A Lancashire council leader has hit back after the area’s MP accused them of not doing enough to boost the local economy.
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, asked a question at Prime Minister Questions about enterprise zones, and accused Lancashire County Council and Lancaster Council of not doing enough to apply for funds.
The Tory MP said: “It turns out that the Labour Council and the Labour County Council who were taking about Enterprise zone esque project in the area have not even applied for any funding whatsoever.”
Prime Minister Theresa May replied saying that ministers would look at the issue, adding the sideswipe: “I will also say how sad it is that Labour Councils are not willing to put forward proposals to increase the prosperity and economic growth in their area.”
But now LCC leader Jennifer Mein has hit back, pointing to enterprise projects ongoing in the county.
She said: “I’m proud of our track record of promoting jobs and growth right across the county and particularly in the Lancaster & Morecambe area, I can think of several initiatives that the county council, the Lancashire Enterprise Zone and Lancaster City Council have worked jointly on:
·The delivery of the long-awaited Bay gateway which has opened huge opportunities for employment and business growth across the county.
·Working with the University and the Enterprise Partnership, as well as the City Council, we have assisted in bringing forward the Health Innovation Campus with an investment worth over £17m
· Secured Garden Village status for South Lancaster (one of only 14 such designations in the country) with extra funding for infrastructure work at Junction 33
· Seen investment of £2.5m in the Lancaster Teaching Hub of Cumbria University aimed at training new nurses and care workers
· Facilitated £4m of commercial lending in support of the Luneside East development
·Our Business Growth Hub,’ Boost’, has worked with over 140 growing SME businesses in Lancaster over the past two years. This work looks to continue and grow following the County Council’s further investment of £3m to support the work of ‘Boost’.
“This list is just an illustration of some of the good work being done, in constructive partnerships, to promote employment and business across Lancaster & Morecambe. I’m always happy to talk to anyone about how this work can be improved even further. It’s worth noting that I have invited Mr Morris to come and see me several times since he became an MP. Sadly he is yet to accept my invitation.”