Council leader's anger after £33million awarded to South West from post-Brexit funding pot
PUBLISHED: 19:01 05 March 2019
The leader of Devon County Council has reacted angrily after Government only allocated the South West £33million in post-Brexit funding.
Having learnt today that Eurotunnel has also been allocated £33m in an out-of-court settlement - deal or no deal - leaders are strongly expressing their concern to Government about the message this sends to 5.6 million residents and businesses in the South West.
Leader Cllr John Hart said: “Yet again the South West is the poor relation to the rest of the country. To only receive £33m – the same as Eurotunnel - from the Government pot of post-Brexit funding is bordering on insulting.
“That the Government can compare the needs of people and businesses in the South West with those of Eurotunnel beggars belief. No consultation or communication took place with our councils prior to the funding announcement and we are bitterly disappointed that the needs of the people of the South West are being ignored.
“We are in constant communication with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, reporting back on issues of concern to the region, but this is largely one-way traffic. Funding to improve transport links in to the South West is our top priority if we are to create and keep employment.
“Devon County Council has been calling on the Government for some time now to give us the funding we need to begin phase one of the desperately needed A303 Blackdown Hills project, and there are similar pressure points across the wider South West.
“The Government continues to demonstrate reluctance to find this funding, despite indicating that £1.8b will be allocated to build a tunnel around Stonehenge. Despite this lack of support and recognition from Government, we are doing all we can to prepare for Brexit.
“Work is taking place across Devon County Council and the region to prepare contingency plans for possible outcomes, to support communities and businesses and to help understand and minimise the impacts where possible.
“The clock is ticking on Brexit.
“We have consistently called on the Government to listen to the concerns of the people of the South West but so far there is little evidence that our voice has been heard, and time is running out. On behalf of the South West I call on the Government to listen, to engage and to respond.”