SHADOW Chancellor Ed Balls has pledged to look again at the regeneration gap which has seen East Lancashire lose tens of millions of pounds since the Coalition came to power.

And he is convinced that Rossendale and Darwen will be among the key battlegrounds which Labour must win back if they are to triumph at the General Election in 2015.

The Morley and Outwood MP was in the area for a gala fundraising dinner for the party’s candidate, Will Straw, at the White Hall Hotel in Darwen, when he spoke to the Lancashire Telegraph.

Mr Balls said: “We will be determined to make sure that we put back the investment in East Lancashire which is necessary for creating jobs and regeneration.”

The loss of housing market renewal funding saw around £40million per year lost to East Lancashire authorities.

And Mr Balls believes that the party’s candidate for the seat is the right man to unseat the Conservatives’ Jake Berry.

He said: “Will clearly comes from an experienced family politically but he has huge experience in his own right. If you want someone who is going to bang the drum for housing resources, transport and job creation then he knows where the money is and the levers are within the Treasury.

“The constituency needs someone who will make a real difference and not just turn up and vote the way they are told to do.”

Mr Balls added: “Rossendale and Darwen is a very important seat for Labour. We have shown we can win by-elections over the last couple of years and take control of councils in the north, Yorkshire and Scotland.

“The key marginal seats which will decide the General Election are going to be in the north-west, West Yorkshire and West Midlands.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw was joined by borough council leader Coun Kate Hollern and Rossendale Council lead-er Coun Alyson Barnes, alongside a host of leading East Lancashire Labour names.

Auction prizes at the gala dinner included a bottle of House of Commons whisky, signed by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, tea for two with Tessa Jowell and a Burnley FC shirt donated by Alistair Campbell.