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Lib Dems call for a fairer deal for Bromsgrove high street after it loses out in Government funding shambles

November 24, 2020 6:55 PM

A local shop worker and Lib Dem Campaigner has condemned the Government's funding programme for high street regeneration as "a shambles" after Bromsgrove missed out funds allegedly for small towns, whilst larger cities benefitted.

The fund was supposed to help the country's most struggling high streets, but eyebrows were raised after Worcester and Hereford were included and Bromsgrove was left out.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in a recent report accused the Government of making "sweeping assumptions" when it invited bids for the fund. In fact, the selection process was so dubious that the committee also said it was "a risk to the civil service's reputation for impartiality".

Lib Dem Campaigner Josh Robinson, who works on Bromsgrove High Street and had to be furloughed earlier this year said: "It's bad enough that the Government's criteria for selecting towns to benefit from this fund has been such a shambles, but it's even more disappointing that our local council has been silent about the scandal, despite the fact that we lost out. How on earth can it be right that big cities like Worcester and Hereford receive help from a fund that is supposed to be for small towns when our high street which is crying out for investment gets nothing."

The Local Government Chronicle has raised further doubts about the transparency of the process by revealing that two thirds of the places named as beneficiaries were set to be key battlegrounds for the Conservatives in last December's general election.

Bromsgrove Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Dr David Nicholl added: "It looks like these decisions were based on which seats the Conservatives wanted to win in the election and not which high streets needed help the most. I'm really pleased the Lib Dem group will be raising this at the next Bromsgrove District Council meeting. Just because the Conservatives think Bromsgrove is a safe seat doesn't mean we should be left behind when it comes to key investment decisions like this."