Chris Shaw's verbal attacks on the Government could cost North East Lincolnshire Whitehall support, says opposition
NORTH East Lincolnshire is in danger of losing Government support because of the council leader's outspoken verbal attacks on the Coalition.
That is the view of Conservative group leader Keith Brookes, who fears Councillor Chris Shaw's hostile attitude towards Whitehall risks alienating Government ministers.
He spoke out during a full council meeting, after Councillor Shaw refused to congratulate the Government for awarding millions of pounds of funding to the area.
Instead, the council leader accused the Coalition of "doing very little" and described the amount of funding given to the area as a "pittance".
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In response, Councillor Brookes asked: "Has Councillor Shaw given the right reply? I go to meetings with Conservative ministers and civil servants to fight for North East Lincolnshire and then I have to go and report what Councillor Shaw has said. You don't get support if you come out with comments like that."
However, Councillor Shaw responded by repeating his criticisms and then fired off a series of stinging broadsides against Councillor Brookes, the previous Lib Dem-Tory administration, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers and even the chief executive of neighbouring authority Hull City Council.
Councillor Brookes described the Labour leader's comments as "sad", "farcical" and even "slanderous".
The council leader's outburst came after Councillor John Fenty (Con, Humberston & New Waltham) asked him to congratulate the Government on providing £30 million to support the Humber's renewables sector through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and £4.9 million towards the A18-A180 link road.
Councillor Shaw replied by praising council officers for attracting the investment to the area, and accused the Government of taking away "millions" by scrapping the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and giving back a "pittance" through the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
He added that a previous RGF bid had been "rejected out of hand", and claimed that the only reason that the A18-A180 link road got the green light was because NELC had agreed to contribute £1.35 million towards it.
He added that Immingham Town Council had also made a contribution to the project, adding: "If the councillors opposite had their way we wouldn't have a town council in Immingham. Whose idea was that?
" I think it was somebody called Martin Vickers. Thank goodness we didn't listen to him."
Councillor Shaw added: "We are going out there every day seeking funding to regenerate North East Lincolnshire after eight years of no regeneration whatsoever.
"And we are trying to do it with a Government that sees the north of England as somewhere evil.
"We have brought in Dong, RES, Centrica, Siemens – I could go on. The list is becoming endless.
"I will congratulate our hardworking officers but I will not congratulate a Government that quite frankly has done very little."