Friday, 27 December 2013

Pennine Lancashire EU Assisted Area Status: East Lancashire working together

Over the last two months East Lancashire leaders and MPs have been working together to make the case for the 2014 - 2020 Assisted Area Status with the EU. The Government have have accepted the the first stage of consultation on the wards which will qualify.  The number of wards included in East Lancashire is far greater than the last period 2007-2013 - an additional 17 wards over the last period.

Essentially the assisted areas status has been focused on prime industrial areas along the M65 and where there are significantly large employers.

I and my colleagues Councillor Bernard Dawson and County Councillor for Huncoat Clare Pritchard pressed for the inclusion of Huncoat, originally omitted on the first map and now importantly, included. 

Whilst there had been a consensual approach the Assisted Area Status for East Lancashire I was disappointed the Conservative leader of Pendle Council took to twitter to score political points on this particular issue. 

As I have replied, back in 2006 - all the authorities across East Lancashire were either Tory or LibDem controlled, none were Labour - there is an argument that the leaders and their respective Party's at the time were not willing to fight hard enough for East Lancashire. Whereas now four out of five are Labour controlled and Blackburn provided the bull work of the administration and the East Lancashire is benefitting for it. 

I think it was fair to say it was a stupid point given the collegiate nature locally of the process so far.

  1. Of the wards proposed in Pennine Lancashire Assisted Area Status map 28% are in compared to nil under the last government!
  2. Stupid point. Pennine Leaders (4xLab+1Con) fought for it led by B'burn (Lab). Last time 2006 all Con/Dem Councils.

Leader of Blackburn Council

Dear Leaders,

As you will know the stage two consultation on the Assisted Area Maps has now commenced. Pennine Lancashire has done exceptionally well following the initial consultation and if the Lancashire map remains as published on 18th Dec, then Pennine Lancashire will have gained coverage over an additional 17 wards from the 2007-13 maps.

I'm sure you'll agree this is excellent news for PLACE and testament to our strong working relationship and commitment to deliver growth in Pennine Lancashire. The additional lobbying our respective MPs have done on our behalf has clearly been successful.

It's important that the map presented as part of the stage 2 consultation becomes the final map for Pennine Lancashire and I therefore, on behalf of PLACE, intend to respond to the consultation with this effect. I would also encourage you to speak with your MPs to ensure their continued support. I also expect that the LEP will respond to the consultation positively to ensure all of the proposed 42 wards in Pennine Lancashire are on the final map submitted to the EU.

Link to the consultation -

Kind regards and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Kate Hollern
Leader of Blackburn Council