FUNDING from central Government in Westminster is always a hot topic.

Obviously, we want more money to be invested locally to raise our standard of living, have a nice environment and to bring a sense of pride to our community. This is why the levelling up and towns funds are so important.

Earlier this year, Wigan Council’s bid for a £20million sum for the rejuvenation of Haigh Hall was successful. The money was committed for the project by the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, and it is going to result in a wonderful transformation of the local landmark.

Whilst I was delighted with the success of Wigan’s £20million bid to renovate a grand hall, I was disappointed that they could only come up with an unpopular £11.4million project in Leigh. When local residents feel like they are being treated like second class citizens then politicians should take note.

Fortunately, my constituency neighbour, James Grundy MP, put his foot down, opposed the meagre bid from the councillors sitting in Wigan and demanded better. The Government in Westminster has listened and Leigh has now been awarded the full £20 million.

It is somewhat surprising to hear the difference in the tone of response from the Wigan Council leader, Cllr David Molyneux over the two projects. When money goes to a Wigan project, he speaks of his delight and pride but when the same amount of money comes to Leigh then the narrative turns to despondency.

As a starting point, holding out for and gaining an extra £8.6million is a big win for local residents but it is not the greatest improvement. This money now has to be spent in line with the interests of local residents with a proper ‘Town Board’ constituted to hear your views.

Rather than spending decisions just being made by Wigan Council, the new ‘Town Board’ will include James Grundy and representatives from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority which will ensure that your voice is heard and respected.

The approach from Wigan Council reminds me of the funding pot that the GM mayor had a few years ago. Basically, Atherton was not allowed to bid for money from Greater Manchester because they said that ‘too much’ work would be required to get the town up to scratch.

I do wonder at the priorities of our local council when it come to the causes they champion and the people that they overlook.

Another area that has been overlooked in recent times is our live music venues. It has been tough since the lockdowns as it is so easy to sit at home and flick the box on but the experience of going out to a local grassroots music venue is so much better. I popped into The Snug in Atherton to hear how they have had their future secured as a fantastic local live music venue.