UKIP leader Nigel Farage brought his Euro-sceptic message to Dudley for a walkabout in the town centre market place.

Dudley is currently undergoing significant regeneration work, partly funded by around £6.8m from the European Union.

Mr Farage and his supporters argue Britain would be better off out of the EU and he rejects any suggestion Dudley voters would have missed out on town centre improvements if the nation chose to go-it-alone.

Nigel Farage said: “What have the people of Dudley paid into the EU? We did this a few years ago in Oldham, there was a by-pass part funded by the EU.

“We did a real deep down dig into what have the people of Oldham, pro rata, contributed out of their taxes to EU membership, what have they got back in the form of subsidy for the by-pass and the match funding from local government and it still came out as a pretty rotten deal.”

He added although he had not done the maths on Dudley regeneration, he believed Dudley people would only be getting their own money back and there were other sources of cash available.

He said: “There are lots of ways of getting regeneration without the EU giving you money and telling you how to spend it. There are lots of towns and cities around this country which have been regenerated with private money.

“I don’t buy the argument getting some of our own money back is a good deal, and even if it was a good deal, are we prepared to sacrifice our independence, our sovereignty, our borders and our democracy just because they are helping us build a few buildings.”

Dudley Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member, Cllr Pete Lowe, said nether the current UK government or the private sector would fund major public construction projects and he dismissed Mr Farage’s comments as nonsense.

Cllr Lowe said: “The EU money is the largest single source of revenue coming into the borough. Without EU money we would not be able to raise anywhere near the amount of funding needed to make major projects viable.”