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Labour's claims on making Warrington a success are fantasy says former leader

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FORMER council leader Ian Marks has welcomed the ‘Centre for Cities’ report released this week which reveals Warrington as the most successful place in the North of England over the last decade, saying much of the success dates back to when the Lib Dems took control of the town – after a quarter of a century of Labour being in charge.
He described comments from current council leader Terry O’Neill attributing the town’s successful economy to Labour as “fantasy.”
As revealed earlier this week Warrington had the highest rate of employment anywhere in the UK last year.
Each year the ‘Centre for Cities’ analyses the performance of 64 cities and large towns across the country and compares them over a range of economic and business indicators.
Cllr Marks, (pictured right) leader of the Council from 2006 to 2011, says, “This success comes as no surprise to Liberal Democrats. Warrington is a great place to live and work and has a talented and motivated population. Much of the town’s success dates back to 2006 when we took over the leadership of the Council after nearly a quarter of a century of Labour rule.
“We inherited a town that had lost its way. We immediately put in place measures to get the economy moving. Warrington became business friendly and we re-negotiated and set moving regeneration programmes like Omega that had been stalled for years under Labour.
“We helped set up the Local Enterprise Partnership with the other Cheshire Authorities to gain access to growth funds. We created the regeneration company Warrington&Co. Masterplans were drawn up for many parts of the town and we lined up a development partner for the town centre who signed a contract a few weeks after we left office. We found money to fund the highly successful Orford Park Centre.
“From his statement after the Prime Minister’s recent visit here, the current council leader appears to believe all this success is due to Labour taking over the Council nearly four years ago. This is a fantasy and ignores the groundwork we put in place previously and the work of the Coalition Government to get the economy moving after years of Labour neglect.”
Prospective parliamentary candidate Cllr Bob Barr who was responsible for Housing in the Lib Dem led Council added, “Warrington’s business success has been supported by the town’s housing affordability and the growing market. Under our watch Golden Gates was set up as an independent Housing Trust, allowing it to release up to £100 million which is being used to improve tenants’ homes. Now, thanks to new borrowing powers introduced by the Coalition Government, we are about to start building more social housing.
“We are excited that the measures we put in place and our aspiration during the five years we led the town, have changed Warrington for the better. It has moved from the failing industrial town we inherited from Labour to the powerhouse it is today. We believe Warrington can look forward to a really great future bringing opportunities, good jobs and good homes in a protected green environment for us and our children.”
Below an interview with Labour leader Terry O’Neill talking about Warrington’s success under Labour just before Christmas

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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