Pickles has made only ONE ministerial visit in SIX months

It emerged today that communities secretary Eric Pickles has only made ONE ministerial visit in the last SIX months, reports Shamik Das.

It’s fast becoming a week to forget for Eric Pickles. Following his embarrassing error over council bosses’ pay on the Today programme on Wednesday, it emerged today that the communities secretary has only made one ministerial visit in the last six months – and has not made a single visit to the North East, South East, East of England or a London borough since his appointment.

His six visits in his 40 weeks as Secretary of State have been to:

• The royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council area, on 7 June 2010;

• The city of Bradford metropolitan district council area, on 29 June 2010;

• The Bournemouth borough council area, from 6 to 8 July 2010;

• The Liverpool city council area, on 19 July 2010;

• The Southampton city council area, on 28 July 2010; and

• The Birmingham city council area, on 20 January 2011.

While Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLGGreg Clark, the Minister for Decentralisation, has only ever made four ministerial visits – and none since last July:

• The London borough of Wandsworth area on 25 June 2010;

• The Liverpool city council area, on 19 July 2010;

• The Bristol city council area, on 26 July 2010; and

• The Bradford city council area, on 29 July 2010.

The facts were revealed in a Parliamentary Written Answer from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Bob Neil in response to a Parliamentary Written Question from shadow local government secretary Caroline Flint, and also show that not one single member of the six-strong DCLG ministerial team has made an official visit to the North East.

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