IVAN Lewis MP is seeking an urgent meeting with a top government minister in a bid to tackle what he describes as Bury’s “chronic underfunding”.

The Bury South MP has written to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to press for talks.

The MP said: “I would like to arrange a meeting with you together with senior officers and local representatives from the council, as a matter of urgency, to discuss possible solutions to ensure that the local authority receives a level of ongoing funding that means it can provide sustainable local services to the people of Bury.”

Mr Lewis said: “Since 2011 the council has been forced to make budget cuts of £38 million which equates to over a third of its controllable net budget.

"For the years 2015/16 and 2016/17, the council is required to make a further £32 million of cuts.

“You may be aware that Bury Clinical Commissioning Group is one of the most poorly funded CCGs in the north and is receiving under its target allocations in respect of funding from NHS England, a fact which has been acknowledged by the Department for Health.”

He added: “This is having a negative impact on local communities and the local health and social care economy.

"In respect of the latter, Bury has one of the fastest growing ageing populations in Greater Manchester and demand for council commissioned and provided adult care services is on the increase in line with national trends.

"The chronic underfunding of public services in cannot continue.”

The intervention by Mr Lewis comes after Bury Council leader Cllr Mike Connolly called upon the borough’s two MPs to use their influence to arrange a meeting with Mr Pickles.

Mr Lewis told the Bury Times: “I fully support the campaign to ensure that Bury gets a fair deal from the Tory-led government. People will have seen over recent weeks the effects of Bury being underfunded, both in terms of local NHS services and, of course, funding for the council.

"This has been brought into sharp focus by the financial challenges faced by Bury Hospice and the inability of the NHS in Bury to assist due to its own underfunding issues.”