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County Cheating Small Businesses

March 10, 2009 2:44 PM

Lewes MP Norman Baker has blasted East Sussex County Council for failing to pass on to local businesses money allocated by central government.

Councils receive money from the government to spend on improving economic growth in their area, but East Sussex has failed to spend it for this purpose.

The council received £173,000 in its most recent grant and has budgeted to spend £100,000 on community transport and £73,000 on activities for young people with the money, so none of this grant will benefit small businesses. The Lib Dem county council group proposed that the £173,000 should instead be given to voluntary organisations assisting the business community, but this was rejected by the Tories.

Norman Baker says: "It is imperative that the county council supports local businesses during this economic downturn. Serious questions must be asked about why they have not spent this money directly on helping local businesses. To date, the county council's main contribution in Lewes and Eastbourne is to introduce heavy handed and unsympathetic parking schemes which are driving down local trade. Local businesses can rightly feel very let down by East Sussex County Council."

The Local Authority Business Growth Incentive scheme was created by the government for councils to spend to improve economic growth in their area.