MPs put the county case

PUBLISHED: 10:26 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

MPs Alistair Burt (right) and Nadine Dorries with other members of the group

MPs Alistair Burt (right) and Nadine Dorries with other members of the group

FOUR Bedfordshire MPs met a top minister this week to seek assurances on future Government grants for the county. Local government minister Jim Fitzpatrick met the group, which included Alistair Burt MP for North East Bedfordshire and Nadine Dorries MP fo

FOUR Bedfordshire MPs met a top minister this week to seek assurances on future Government grants for the county.

Local government minister Jim Fitzpatrick met the group, which included Alistair Burt MP for North East Bedfordshire and Nadine Dorries MP for Mid Bedfordshire, on Monday, the first day the House of Commons returned after the holidays following a request from them to discuss the grant settlement.

Spokesman for the group Mr Burt said: "The strength of the delegation was its all-party nature, and we supported each other and the county in asking the Government to exercise joined-up thinking.

"Bedfordshire is now an ambitious county for its people, and if we have lost local control of the pace of the increase in new housing, the least the Government can do is ensure we have the infrastructure we need."

Before the meeting Mr Burt said: "We will give the minister a bang up to date assessment of where the settlement is likely to leave the county's key services, and we will have the chance to make a strong case on the most important issues.

"We hope he will appreciate the difficulties of a county upon which pressures are bound to increase because of the new building the Government is demanding."

Mrs Dorries said after the meeting: "The new and welcome allocation of funding for the Ridgmont bypass is an ideal example of how important it is to ensure that infrastructure comes first.

"Without the Ridgmont by pass Bedfordshire County Council would find it impossible to even consider approving the proposed Center Parcs, which would have meant a loss of 1,400 potential jobs, preventing Mid Beds from raising its game in terms of economic growth and inward investment."

The minister, though, told the MPs it was too soon to say how the Government would respond to any future grant settlement for Bedfordshire.

He told them the submissions of local authorities would be considered during January and a further announcement from the Government on how much money will be going to councils will be made at the end of the month.

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