Senior figures in Lancashire have hit back at claims that the county’s planned enterprise zone was “the worst in the country”.
County council leader Coun Jennifer Mein said “politics were at play”.
It followed claims that Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt had written a letter last month to the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership saying the Government was “concerned” about the lack of progress in Lancashire.
Ms Mordaunt is reported to have complained that it was the only zone not to have attracted any new businesses or to have created any new jobs.
The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, chaired by Edwin Booth, is overseeing the creation of two enterprise zones next to BAE sites at Samlesbury and Warton expected to create up to 6,000 jobs.
Coun Mein said: “When you compare these comments to the reality of the situation, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that politics are at play, as we approach next year’s general election.
“The truth is that the development is on target to realise its first new jobs in 2015, which was the goal agreed with Government at the outset, and the vision of creating 6,000 jobs over its lifetime also remains intact.”
Coun Mein added the complicated process of handing over the land had taken some time.
A new access road has been rubber-stamped to service the Samlesbury site, and work is expected to begin in earnest next year.
Mr Booth, said: “I’m in regular contact with Government colleagues and have been able to assure them with confidence that the enterprise zone plans remain on course.
“This is a large scale development with a 25-year lifespan and there are considerable complexities to it that the LEP and its partners must negotiate effectively.”