Dearne needs lottery funds

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THE Dearne area is losing out on millions of pounds of lottery funds, it has been claimed.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey is demanding a fair spread of lottery funding after research revealed parts of South Yorkshire receive just a fraction of the national average.

Figures show that Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster have lost out on more than £83m since lottery funding began in 1995.

They also reveal that funding is well below average for most constituencies in the towns. Barnsley East, including Wombwell and Darfield, has received just a quarter of the national average.

Cash coming in to South Yorkshire peaked in the mid-2000s but since then has slumped and inequalities have widened, said Mr Healey.

London, for example, has received 326 per cent of the funding that Yorkshire and Humberside received – with only 1.5 times as many people.

Since the launch of lottery funding, Rotherham has received 1,388 grants totalling more than £82m – for Millenium projects including the Magna Centre.

Doncaster received 1,115 grants worth nearly £66m, and 1,090 grants totalling £75m have gone to good causes in Barnsley, with £23m to heritage projects.

A report by the Industrial Communities Alliance found Britain’s industrial areas receive just 60 per cent of the national average of funding per head, while big cities attract around two and a half times as much lottery funding as their industrial counterparts.

The ICA estimate the cumulative loss to Britain’s industrial communities is £3 billion (£200 million per year).

Mr Healey is to meet ICA chair Coun Eion Watts soon to discuss how funding inequalities will be pressed in Parliament.

The MP said: “Our area is bearing the brunt of government spending cuts and that is putting local facilities and services under threat.

“Yorkshire sportsmen and women have just won a haul of medals for Team GB at the Olympics. We need to continue to nurture young talent and for that we need a fair share of lottery funding. It is unacceptable that, per person, there is less lottery funding going to towns like Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster than to big cities.”