CHANCELLOR George Osborne has been accused of breaking a promise to make Dewsbury an enterprise zone.
He made an election eve vow last May to give the town that status within 100 days of a Conservative government coming to power.
At the time, incumbent Tory MP Simon Reevell was locked in a battle to retain his seat. He narrowly lost his Dewsbury and Mirfield consitutency to Labour’s Paula Sherriff.
Enterprise zones give towns benefits including:
• Up to a 100 per cent business rate discount over five years;
• Simpler planning processes for developments;
• 100 per cent tax relief for firms investing in new machinery.
Nine months on and nothing has happened – and MP Paula Sherriff wants action.
On Monday she called for an apology in a parliamentary debate, having raised the issue twice before. She quizzed communities minister Marcus Jones and said: “This was the most despicable piece of electioneering imaginable.
“It was a deliberate and targeted false promise for the people of Dewsbury in a desperate attempt to save my predecessor from losing his seat.”
Adding to the confusion is a Kirklees Council project dubbed the ‘North Kirklees Housing and Enterprise Growth Zone’.
This does not offer the benefits of the Government scheme and, despite the name, covers Dewsbury and Batley but not towns like Mirfield.
Investment such as nearly £100,000 for repairs to Dewsbury Market Hall is in the pipeline.
Ms Sherriff said: “I have many constituents contact me with concerns about Dewsbury town centre.
“The Government has let them down but I will keep pushing for both an apology and investment in our town.”