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Cheshire East promotes growth

Engine of the North

 

The Labour group on Cheshire East Council welcomes any attempt to promote growth. There is now a clear recognition that the coalition government has cut local government expenditure to the bone and that the council needs additional income. The new development company, titled the Engine of the North is intended to ‘sweat our assets more’ (in the words of the Conservative Leader). It is suggested that £100m of council assets will be ‘sweated’ by the new company.

 

Cllr. Ken Edwards and Sam Corcoran supported the proposal but warned that the new company must act in the true interests of Cheshire East council tax payers. The investment of £500,000 per year to fund the initiative needs to deliver a strong contribution to additional capital and revenue in the future for Cheshire East. Too often local government gets bogged down in its own procedures when trying to invest positively. There is a danger this new body may become yet another useless quango, adding another layer to local government bureaucracy becoming a barrier rather than a gateway to development. There must also be transparency so all Councillors can understand the benefits brought about by the disposal of public assets.

Labour councillors will be scrutinising a detailed business plan as soon as it is available.

 

Cllr Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said,

“This is a brave initiative from the Conservative administration desperate to preserve jobs and encourage growth in spite of the failure of the Coalition government’s policy to kick start the economy so far.”

 

Labour Leader, Cllr David Newton said,

“I believe this Company will aid the Council is getting the best value for Cheshire East residents from any surplus assets that can be identified' We need to have our own champion to ensure that we gain the benefits of any development involving public assets and that we get a stream of income to provide services for Cheshire residents. This Company should help us to become more independent of government funding.”

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