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Wirral given a raw deal over Government transport cash
A political clash has erupted over claims that Wirral has been given a raw deal over the allocation of Government funding for major transport schemes across the region.
Senior Wirral Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly said the borough's quota from a multi-million pound share-out was just £6.7m - compared with Liverpool City Council’s £58.5m.
But cabinet member for transport, Labour councillor Harry Smith, accused Cllr Kelly of “thrashing around trying to score political points.”
Councillor Kelly said: “I'm disappointed to discover the City Region Local Transport Body, which prioritises major transport schemes to receive funding from the Government, has only included one Wirral-based priority accounting for just 6% of total funding being asked for.
“It’s not good enough.
"Wirral is the second biggest council in the city region after Liverpool. But the figures I have seen indicate Liverpool City Council projects account for £58.5m and Wirral's get just £6.7m of the total.
“Why hasn’t the cabinet member for transportation (Cllr Harry Smith) and council leader (Cllr Phil Davies) been able to secure a fair deal for Wirral?”
“I am angry the only new rail station being promoted is for Maghull and that the Bidston to Wrexham line doesn’t even get a mention, despite the obvious benefits.”
Councillor Harry Smith disclosed he would be involved in a meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales this week over progress on the proposed electrification of the Bidston-Wrexham line.
Councillor Smith said: “This could involve the building of new Wirral stations – Mersey Travel representatives will attend the meeting.”
He said the allocation of cash for major transport schemes had been decided as a matter of priorities.
He added: “Cllr Kelly’s comments are premature. He's thrashing around trying to score politcial points.
"If he feels Wirral is not getting its fair share of funding he should take it up with his Government.”
The clash comes against a background of political differences over new proposals to set up a joint authority representing all five Merseyside councils in a bid to secure additional Government funding.
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