Chancellor ‘broke election promise’ made to town

COMPLETE DISREGARD? George Osborne.
COMPLETE DISREGARD? George Osborne.
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Dewsbury’s MP Paula Sherriff has slated high-ranking government ministers for a broken pre-election promise made to the town .

Last April the Chancellor George Osborne vowed that within 100 days of a new Conservative government the town would be added to a list of Enterprise Zones.

This would have meant that new businesses moving into the town or those changing premises would be exempt from business rates for five years.

Nine months – or 279 days – since they were re-elected, Dewsbury still has no Enterprise Zone.

Labour MP Miss Sherriff said: “This was the most despicable piece of electioneering imaginable.

“This was a deliberate and targeted false promise for the people of Dewsbury in a desperate attempt to save my predecessor from losing his seat,” she added.

“I have been pushing for answers on this for months and have been fobbed off by government ministers who have complete disregard for Dewsbury.”

Miss Sherriff pressed Communities and Local Government minister Marcus Jones on the subject at a Support for High Streets debate in the House of Commons on Monday.

She asked him to formally confirm there is no Enterprise Zone in the constituency and that its businesses are still paying full rates. She also demanded an apology for the Chancellor’s pledge.

Mr Jones replied to her that Dewsbury could take tips from towns around Yorkshire that had won awards in the Great British High Street Competition –taken by Ms Sherriff to mean the affluent North Yorkshire town of Helmsley.

Both the office for HM Treasuryand the Department for Communities and Local Government were contacted for comment.

Neither had responded by the time the Reporter went to print.