Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

09/12/08 Swimming shame over Tory-controlled District Council

WEST Lancashire District Council has been named as being one of two local authorities in the whole of the county not to bid for Government funding for free swimming.

Out of 14 councils in Lancashire, every one of them has secured funds apart from West Lancashire District Council and Rossendale Council, both of which are Tory-controlled and both of which decided to opt out.

West Lancashire Rosie Cooper MP has been campaigning for West Lancashire District Council to take part in the free swimming scheme since it was announced by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham MP in the summer.

Rosie said: “I am extremely disappointed that West Lancashire is losing out on Government funding because of a decision taken by the Conservative administration."

“However, I am not surprised as they have never seemed interested in this. The Council even refused to opt into free swimming ‘in principle’ to ensure they met the deadline after my negotiations with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure West Lancs residents did not miss out."

“Their inaction now means that while West Lancashire will get absolutely nothing, neighbouring authorities in Sefton, St Helens, Wigan, Chorley, Knowsley and South Ribble will be getting literally hundreds of thousands of pounds to help residents stay fit and healthy."

“This is similar to the way West Lancs District Council handled the Government’s free bus travel for the disabled and pensioners last year when they said they hadn't been given enough money. This year they won't let pensioners have a free rail card as well as free bus travel, yet the Government’s grant for free travel means the Council is expected to make a big profit out of the free travel scheme."

“The net result is that West Lancashire people are, yet again, being treated like second class citizens. It is a complete disgrace.”

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