GOVERNMENT spending supremo Danny Alexander yesterday promised to make the case to Cabinet for a £15million investment in Burnley General Hospital if its bosses persuaded him it gave value for taxpayers’ money.
Chancellor George Osborne’s Treasury deputy headed back to London with a sheaf of papers from East Lancashire NHS Interim Chief Executive Jim Birrell on why he should sign the cheque.
He visited Burnley General to find out more about the plans for a new £10million specialist eye clinic, and a £5million surgical unit, with local MP Gordon Birtwistle.
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Mr Alexander said: “As the man who holds the government’s purse strings, I like to come to see prop-osed major projects for myself.
“My Liberal Democrat colleague Gordon Birtwistle has been making a persuasive case for this investment, and I have come to look at that case.
“If I am convinced this investment is the right thing to do, I will take that case back to Whitehall and the Cabinet with me.
“Gordon did a good job persuading me of the case for a new urgent care centre here, and has been doing the same for these new units.
“The NHS has to make these decisions, but I am visiting the hospital in pers-on to hear the case for this investment. If I am convinced it is a good case, I shall be trying to persuade my boss Mr Osborne and Heal-th Secretary Jeremy Hunt to give it the go-ahead.”
Mr Birtwistle said: “I brought Danny here to see for himself.
“I am sure he will be convinced by the need for this investment, and will then convince his Cabinet colleagues to approve it.”
Mr Birrell said: “Our plans for future developments would significantly improve the site and make the res-idents proud of their local hospital.”
Mr Alexander also visited the £25million ‘North Light’ scheme to transform Brier-field Mill into a new complex involving a marina, hotel, climbing centre, apar-tments, and business and cyber-security centre.
He said: “This is just the sort of ambitious project involving a local authority, Pendle Council, and the private sector, this government is keen to promote.”
In addition he toured Velocity Composites, Heas-andford Primary School, and Boohoo.com in Burnley.