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COALFIELD COMMUNITIES 'ROBBED' SAYS DOBSON (HANSARD)

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Special financial help to the coalfield communities in areas where pits have closed has been 'insufficient and slow...
Special financial help to the coalfield communities in areas where pits have closed has been 'insufficient and slow in coming,' shadow environment secretary Frank Dobson said yesterday.

Speaking yesterday during a Commons debate (10 Jan col 137) Mr Dobson accused the government of trying to take European money under the RECHAR programme from coalfield communities to the general rate fund 'to reduce the poll tax and council tax liability in Tory places such as Westminster and Wandsworth' before the last election.

Mr Dobson said that it was not just in the case of special help where coalfield areas were being let down.

'They are being robbed on a day-to-day basis in terms of the grant which the government pay out to every local authority in the country.'

The standard spending assessment which Mr Dobson claims are rigged in favour of Tory controlled authorities, show that Westminster is the fourth most deprived place in Britain while Easington is 338th.

'I do not know whether that is a tragedy or a farce,' said the Labour spokesman.

Environment minister Paul Beresford said Mr Dobson's speech showed 'his traditional lack of understanding.'

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