Council leader says funding shun is "Disappointing"

Growth Investment FEB 2017

Published at 7:30am 24th February 2017. (Updated at 7:26am 27th February 2017)

Our part of the county has missed out on a large share of a £19.5M economy boost.

The leader of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has reacted to the news that our area will see little of Dorset's £19.5m economic boost.

Jeff Cant told Wessex FM that it is more than disappointing:

"The government set up what was described as Local Enterprise Partnerships with the aim of directly government funding into areas which need support - so funding specifically allocated for ways of improving local economies. We are absolutely outraged to discover that over the last 3 years, 92% of this funding has gone to either Bournemouth or Poole, leaving very little for West Dorset. I'm not only disappointed but extraordinarily puzzled as to why, when Weymouth & Portland is the most deprived area in Dorset and one of the most deprived areas nationally, our request for support has been yet again turned down."

Mr Cant explained that they would be pursuing the funding that the government says is so desperately needed to improve deprived coastal towns - which Weymouth & Portland is classified as.

"We were looking for about £12 million, particularly for flood defences after advice from the Environment Agency, which would have opened the door to attract a further £49m from other government departments. This would have improved our position and provided a potential 600 news homes and around 900 new jobs. All in all this is devastating news for Weymouth & Portland and as leader of the council I am absolutely outraged."

The funding is meant to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth across Dorset.

Local Growth Minister Andrew Percy said:

"This £19.5 million investment will support the delivery of new homes and jobs right across the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. These growth deals are a crucial part of our efforts to create an economy that works for everyone, and will ensure every region of the country has the chance to realise its full potential."

Mr Cant insists that they will be making representations to local government that the funding that is being distributed "is not reaching the right spots" in order to give the are of Weymouth and Portland a fighting chance at boosting its own economy.

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