UK Leader hits back after MPs accuse council of 'hoarding' £4m grant funding last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Bury North MP James Daly claimed that only £96,000 of the £4m awarded to the borough by the government has been given out
Breaking News ! A row has broken out between the leader of Bury Council and the borough's MPs after the Town Hall was accused of withholding millions of pounds in grant funding. Posting a video to his Facebook page last night, Bury North MP James Daly claimed that just 82 grants, totalling £96,000, have been awarded by Bury Council since it received £4 million from the government in November. The Conservative Party MP described it as 'pretty disturbing news' and called on the council to 'unlock' the funding and distribute it to businesses in Bury. "It is simply unacceptable to hoard this level of money when it should be supporting businesses," he said in the video. James Daly, the Conservative MP for Bury North (Image: Copyright Unknown) Bury South MP Christian Wakeford also wrote an open letter alongside Mr Daly, addressed to the leader of Bury Council Eamonn O'Brien and the council's chief executive Geoff Little. Responding to the claims, Coun O'Brien said: "I find it truly extraordinary that we being criticised for following the Government’s own advice for allocating Covid support grants. "Accusations that we have not helped local businesses are an absolute travesty of the truth. "Throughout this pandemic, our dedicated business support team has worked tirelessly to get financial support to Bury companies large and small across the whole range of sectors. In fact, we have already distributed more than 90pc of a total pot of £51 million to those who have been hit by successive lockdowns and local restrictions. "We have done everything in our power to deliver this help, in accordance with Government guidelines and eligibility criteria." In November, business owners in Bury told the MEN that they were 'desperate' as they waited for Bury Council to pay out support grants. Coun O'Brien claimed that the £4 million given to Bury Council in November was meant to support businesses until March 2022 and accused the government of 'moving the goalposts' by telling the council last week that more funding would become available.
. The Government’s guidance at that time was that this money was a one-off lump sum and had to be used to support businesses until March 2022. There would be no more money provided, so don’t spend it all at once, was the message.
"Lo and behold, last Thursday night (January 7) we received new guidance – there would be more money, and it was 'expected to be spent without delay'. "To claim that Bury has been tardy in helping people, therefore, is nonsense. And it’s not just Bury which has been affected – councils across the whole country are now having to deal with this sudden moving of the goalposts. "We are delighted that there will be more money made available for local businesses and we’ve been doing really well in getting it out. We have already processed and approved all the bids we received for this money in December which met the eligibility criteria.
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"Today, we took proposals to business leaders for three new schemes to help different types of companies who have not previously received support, such as those who do not have monthly commercial property costs. Their feedback is being taken on board to make sure we have the best possible criteria and application process. "We know all too well the hardship that local businesses have endured these last ten months. We are committed to doing all we can to support them, and local jobs, both now and in the coming years as we recover from the pandemic."