IT’S an ill wind, as the saying goes - and the government’s announcement this week of £1.6bn to help deprived towns should, we hope, benefit Barrow.

“Brexit bribe!” holler the Remainers who believe the announcement is little more than a governmental move in the seemingly interminable game of chess which sums up our attempts to cast off the shackles of the European Union.

Those of us who view the EU in a more jaundiced view, perhaps, see it as a devolutionary move: our own taxpayers’ money being earmarked for British communities without being siphoned back through the EU.

The announcement, say some MPs, is a cynical ploy to persuade Labour MPs in Leave strongholds - predominantly here in the North - to line up behind prime minister Theresa May’s widely acknowledged imperfect Withdrawal Agreement as Brexit Day looms this month.

Now, of course, here in the Barrow and Furness constituency, we are no longer a Labour stronghold. With the best will in the world, the constituency couldn’t be called an Independent stronghold. Returned in 2017 as Labour MP, now sitting as an independent, but not a member of The Independent Group (keep up, at the back!), John Woodcock will be as interested as all of us to see how the reported £281m for the North West is to be allocated.

If any northern community needs to see its fair share of that £281m, Barrow certainly does.

Battling to save its town centre from the mission creep of online shopping; suffering from the “toxic triangle” of mental health problems, substance abuse and domestic violence; and compromised economically and geographically, Barrow surely is a special case when it comes to the allocation of such funds as are to be made available around Brexit.

With a 60-plus percentage Leave vote, the people of Furness have made it abundantly clear to the government that they want to leave the EU. I suspect that figure would be same - if not higher - if it was put to the people of the constituency once more.

One of the catchphrases of the Brexit campaign was “taking back control”. And among the many things of which we wanted to take back control - our sovereignty and our laws, included - our money was high up on the list.