Twinning deal claims are all false - council

The castle which dominates Angers, Wigan's twin town in France

The castle which dominates Angers, Wigan's twin town in France

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COUNCIL chiefs in Wigan have blasted TV documentary makers for branding the borough’s twinning programme a waste of public money.

The local authority was highlighted by investigative show Dispatches during an expose of what the programme labelled examples of taxpayers’ money going to waste.

Programme makers claimed senior Wigan councillors and their guests are flown annually to Angers in the Loire Valley for twinning festivities, and that the arrangement to partner with the French town Angers costs at least £25,000 a year.

However, the council has strongly refuted the allegations made by Dispatches and underlined the considerable benefits the twin town programme brings to Wigan.

A council spokesman said: “The programme was factually inaccurate as it said a troop of councillors visited when it was actually just the mayor and the leader.

“For more than two decades Wigan borough school children and businesses as well as wider members of the public have benefitted from our strong links to our European partner.

“Thousands of French nationals have brought income into the borough and both towns have benefitted from this relationship.”

Wigan and Angers have been twinned for more than 20 years, with the agreement to partner the two towns being agreed in 1988. The borough had also previously been connected to the capital of the Anjou region of France.