Government’s new jobs blow for Blackpool

SO Preston has its long-awaited Tithebarn project – or at least permission for it. Who is going to sump up £700 million for a shopping centre in this economy is anyone’s guess so, much as with Blackpool’s ill-fated casino plans, we’re going to see years of potential developers being scared off by the potential behemoth in their midst.

But far more interesting is the small print. Apparently, according to the Lancashire Telegraph’s estimable Tom Moseley, the inspector accepted the arguments by Blackburn and Blackpool councils that the scheme would kill more than 1,000 jobs in surrounding towns.

That’s on top of the 1,000 jobs going at Blackpool Council. And 2,000 or more at Blackpool’s civil service sites.

That’s on top of the fact that the inspector believes the scheme will clog up Preston’s already congested city centre.

So why did he approve the scheme? Erm, he didn’t.

Apparently he’s been over-ruled by Tory minister in charge, Eric Pickles, who was, perhaps, excited by the prospect of the Tithebarn’s array of pie shops.

So that’s Blackpool shafted in three different ways in six months under the new administration . . . which rather begs the question, when are they going to do something for us?

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How can this be right?

B&M Bargains, which used to be an obscure corner shop in Cleveleys, has suddenly become a national phenomenom. Its stores are popping up on corners across the nation as its owners neatly fit into the ‘stock it high, sell it cheap’ niche that Woolworth somehow managed to cock up. Good look to its entreprenurial owners . . .

. . . or maybe not. For reports suggest they’re busily shafting loyal staff by refusing them redundancy pay when B&M’s Blackpool warehouse closes and moves to Speke in Liverpool. While B&M wouldn’t have a leg to stand on legally if it attempted to deny workers who don’t fancy a 120 mile commute, it appears a calculation has been made that screwing the help will work out cheaper than doing the right thing.

And that’s not the end of it. While the move is elminating jobs in one poverty-ravaged town, the authorities in another are funding it to the tune of £1.75 million.

There’s something very wrong in the system of regeneration funding if this shifting of work is being encouraged.

Private buinesses dipping into public funds need to play by the letter and the spirit of the rules. Or lose it.