BRUM ATTACKS MINISTERS' NEW STREET "PORK PIES"
Birmingham's Deputy council leader Paul Tilsley has attacked ministers for telling "pork pies" over the redevelopment of New Street station.
In the aftermath of the announcement that the city is being handed just £128 million for the revamp of rail hub - well short of the £350 million requested - the government has started spinning furiously to discredit the leadership of Mike Whitby and the city’s progressive partnership.
Byrne is reported in the Birmingham Post today as saying there were “unanswered questions” about the scheme, and claimed that it had failed to offer appropriate cost comparators required by the Department for Transport.
A similar claim was put forward on BBC WM by Transport Minister Tom Harris, prompting a furious response by Tilsley - currently sitting in for the holidaying council leader Mike Whitby
Tilsley said: “Mike Whitby has been chairman of the New Street station project and he’s been leading from the front, so for them to say they can’t get hold of him is utter rubbish.
“After I heard this rumour yesterday, I went back to the office to check and there have been no requests to speak to either Mike Whitby or myself. There have been no calls, no letters, no emails. Period.
“Somebody has been telling pork pies. I’m fed up of all this spin, it’s just an excuse.”
Tilsley pointed to the government’s financial difficulties following the collapse of the London underground contractors Metronet, and suggested that this might lie behind their reluctance to hand over the full £350 million requested by Brum.
He also suggested that the “alternative option” requested by the government was the Grand Central Station scheme for Eastside, which he said the government had been informed about - but which was inappropriate since it “bypasses the city centre entirely”.
“It’s absolutely appalling. We’ve got ministers telling outrageous stories which are simply not true.”
©2006 The Stirrer