Login Register

Labour backs Heseltine's plan for regional growth

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

Comments (9)

Ed Balls says Boris Johnson as Tory leader could be akin to Kevin Keegan as England manager: “big hair, no trophies.”The Shadow Chancellor asked whether the London mayor, from Exmoor and tipped as a Tory leader, will be “the Alf Ramsey or the Kevin Keegan”: “World Cup winner not seen as the most charismatic guy, but he delivered. (Or) Kevin Keegan – big hair, no trophies.”Labour's Ed Balls has dismissed the Government's flagship plan to boost jobs in the Westcountry as "not fit for purpose".

The Shadow Chancellor criticised the coalition Government for scrapping Labour's regional development agencies (RDAs), and replacing them with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) that lack "clout".

But Mr Balls, architect of Labour's economic policy, promised that Labour in government would "build on, not rip up" Tory peer Lord Michael Heseltine's alternative economic blueprint for boosting the flagging regional economies. It calls for more power and cash to the regions.

The South West RDA spent a £1billion budget in the seven county-wide region on projects such as the Wave Hub energy terminal off north Cornwall. By contrast, two LEPs in the Westcountry – one for Devon and Somerset and another for Cornwall and the Scillies – have been given little by way of running costs and have to bid for spending money.

Mr Balls told regional newspaper journalists in Westminster the demise of RDAs, while not "universally" successful, had left a "massive gap" in courting inward investment and planning large projects.

He said: "The Treasury bounced the Department (for Business) and (Lib Dem Business Secretary) Vince Cable into abolishing the RDAs because they weren't any good. If you got government out of the way it would make things better.

"Over the last two years, Vince Cable has come to see what a deeply destructive and foolish thing that was. And that's what Heseltine says."

He added: "What has been put in its place is not fit for purpose. They're too fragmented. There's much too much variation in their quality. And more importantly they don't have clout – Heseltine says you have to give that local private-public partnership voice clout."

Mr Balls also warned against promising to reverse deep public spending cuts, claiming that as Britain teeters on the brink of a triple-dip recession the financial inheritance risks being "even worse" than expected. He said: "We can't make any commitments now to reverse any of the cuts coming in advance of our manifesto."

The Yorkshire MP would also not rule out a coalition with the Lib Dems in another hung parliament.

He said: "I've never been one of those people who thought coalition government was a better form of government. But if it's what has to be done in the national interest then we'll be part of that."

Read more from North Devon Journal

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters


  • Gurnards_Head  |  February 09 2013, 1:39AM

    Cornwalls economy is currently rebalancing around food production and processing, quality engineering in the marine and renewables sector in particular,and less than formerly tourism but of a higher quality often short break variety all the year round which is good. None of this is any thanks whatsoever to any polito of any political party, they are the kiss of death to any enterprise with their micro management and meddling, improvements are entirely due to the calibre passion and detrmination of free thinking entreprenuers who work their butts off to succeed. All politicians have really succeeded in doing in the past 20 years is to create closed shops barred to young entrants because the entry cost is simply too high due to politicsal meddling in the marketplace for example in fishing and farming where it is now virtually imposssible for any new entrant to start at the bottom and work up. Your assertion that MK will never register anything more than a protest vote may or may not prove to be true but it is highly unlikely given THE experience of Labours incompetence in the recent past that they are going to come galloping over the horizon on a massive wave of Cornish popular support any time soon, as I said previously so many of us are so utterly sick of all politicians that the outlook really is dire for us ordinary Joes.

    |   -2
  • Newquay_Loyal  |  February 08 2013, 6:33PM

    Well at least we can agree that investment is needed in transport, surely that is what a reasoned debate is about. We can safely say that it matters not who is in power, only 35-40% actually voted for them, the rest are unrepresented and therefore will not agree with everything the current incumbents of Westminster dish out. I could go on about how this particular nasty lot are killing the disabled through the ATOS procedures, or how they now want to privatise the Fire Services. Then we have the lies about the amount of fraud within the benefits system, whilst fleecing the country with their own scams. Cornwall is a special place, the people highly independent but Mebyon Kernow will never register much more than a protest vote, UKIP could well harm the Tories, so a vote for them is a good one in my book. I can never forgive the Tories for ripping this country apart in the 80's, my sympathies will always lie with the down trodden low paid victims of businesses exploiting them.

    |   -2
  • poldice  |  February 08 2013, 5:21PM

    Good to see the ever opportunistic Labour gooons cosying up to the Cornish offering them an instant fix of endless financial balm, my cup runneth over with peasant gratitude. I hope all three slimeball paries suffer meltdown at the next election maybe the outpouring of latent rage mentioned by Gurnards Head will hopefully find its outlet in a surge of votes to MK and UKIP and cause some major well deserved upsets which would be infinitely preferable to the rioting and insurrection that may otherwise occur. I wager the dirty tricks departments will be moving into overdrive very soon to discredit MK and UKIP because the big three will be acutely aware of their collective unpopularity verging on hatred from an electorate out for lethal revenge. Do New Labour (the party that stole my pension) honestly think they can expect Cornish people with long memories to move to them in droves, they must be even further up their own backsides than even I thought possible.

    |   2
  • Gurnards_Head  |  February 08 2013, 5:01PM

    They said something similar last time did they not? You are preaching political dogma... the party line parrot fashion knowing full well that some mugs will still fall for it... you are all pariahs Conservative... Labour... Lib-Dem the whole craven bunch of them are tired failures well past their sell by date... useless innefectual wafflers the lot of them. So as you say on Prescotts watch the RDA spent a billion... given the result was that honestly cost effective best value? We are still struggling in Cornwall were it not for the real businesses which despite being throttled with red tape and bureaurocracy still hang in there because they are necessarily efficient in order to survive Cornwall would be worse off than Albania. NO!!! I do not prefer the present lack of investment but unlike you I am passionate about investment from within in our own people keeping and recycling profits within our own community rather that giving free rein to predatory multi national corporates to strip mine wealth out of us and move it elsewhere which is something politicans singularly fail to grasp. Again it was the traitorous Blair who played coochy coo with the crooked corporates and banking criminals... do not frorget that the banking crisis occured on his watch under Browns steely gaze and WE are still paying for it as our childrens children will still be paying for it while the banking criminals still draw their obscene bonuses and rig LIBOR rates. It was during New Labours watch again that second home ownership really took off while the Party of the Common People stood idly by and did nothing because it was their media and banking cronies that were doing the buying while our Cornish children were priced out of the market, the cursed RDA oversaw growth in the form of endless executive housing for rich incomers while our Cornish children remained homeless so dont you DARE to lecture me Boy! Newquay Airport needs a kick up the backside, given sound management it offers a real oportunity to provide the kind of work we desperately need based around the aerohub but the way they are currenty treating their paying passengers the passenger arm will fail because no one will use it. The railways sre similar FGW must be one of the most horrible rip off outfits in the universe... why are there up to 57 different fares to London with 40 year old carriages packed like catle wagons yet they still need taxpayer subsidies? ALL GOVERNMENTS ARE THE SAME REMEMBER THERE WAS AN EQUAL CROSS PARTY MIX OF THIEVES CAUGHT FIDDLING THEIR PARLIAMENTARY EXPENSES ALTHOUGH I PARTICULARLY SAVOUR THE MOMENT THAT POLITICAL PYGMY ELLIOT MORLEY... HE WHO FINISHED OFF WRECKING OUR FISHING INDUSTRY GOT SENT DOWN FOR COMMON THEFT.

    |   1
  • Newquay_Loyal  |  February 08 2013, 3:33PM

    Back to the story above - it quotes "Labour in government would "build on, not rip up" Tory peer Lord Michael Heseltine's alternative economic blueprint for boosting the flagging regional economies. It calls for more power and cash to the regions. The South West RDA spent a £1billion budget in the seven county-wide region on projects such as the Wave Hub energy terminal off north Cornwall. By contrast, two LEPs in the Westcountry – one for Devon and Somerset and another for Cornwall and the Scillies – have been given little by way of running costs and have to bid for spending money. I take it Gurnards Head, that you disagree with the above statement and prefer the current lack of investment by this Tory led shambles. Whoever said, you have to speculate to accumulate may not be too far from the truth, as long as it is not the Bankers who take that as their mantra. Governments must invest in their countries to get them moving, slash & burn only hurts. Now is the time for massive investment in roads and transport in general, especially this side of Bristol. Those on the Isles of Scilly will tell you that cutting them off will kill inward spending. Newquay Airport needs a boost, the railways need investment from Govt and the rail companies who are subsidised into profit, Temple on the A30 needs to be done now,not put off so that it can be forgotten later down the line. This government are all for themselves, there care little for the 99% and even less for those of us far removed from London.

  • Gurnards_Head  |  February 08 2013, 3:05PM

    Well thankyou my Boy for the party political broadcast on behalf of the Blair... Brown... Balls (up) party who claimed to be socialist but let Blair move further right than Attilla the Hun unleashing war, corruption and poverty on an unsuspecting UK population now reaping its just rewards for letting it happen by enduring the present useless coalition shambles. The really depressing thing being that there are but a handfull of principled politicians left who do practice what they preach but are sidelined by the Philistines who constitute the vast majority who are worse than useless self seeking unimformed yes men and women only there through patronage or sexual quotas that ignore merit or basic suitability. Many of these apologies for MP's are a disgrace to their calling and responsible for the dire mess our Country is currently in which is beyond the wit of any of them to fix, all that is happening is there is a steady build up of latent rage among those affected which sooner or later like a boil will burst. The only people who have ever truly supported Cornwall is a tightly knit minority of Cornish people who work hard providing jobs for others, looking after the land and its heritage against the persistent attacks of the insidious forces of politicians and speculators who view our land as a profit centre to be ruhlessly exploited whenever possible. The RDA was an abomination that squandered money on vanity projects and cushy jobs for the boys and girls virtually none of whom were local, the pressing need for infrastructure projects was sidelined to give free rein to speculative development whish is now beginning to overwhelm us the dismantling this wasteful arrogant self serving sacred Prescott cow is about the only worthwhile thing the useless coalition has achieved in Cornwall. The fact remains that it was New Labour who borrowed all the money to waste on these sacred psuedo socialist cows leaving nothing of use but huge debts and empty coffers needin huge tax rises to merely contain let alone rectify. So go preach your partisan political codswallop somewhere else my boy you are fooling no one.

    |   3
  • Newquay_Loyal  |  February 08 2013, 1:35PM

    Labour are the only party who can see that there is real life beyond Bristol, not just a wonder land of holiday homes for the rich friends of the Tory elite. The RDA was not the ideal, but it is proving to be far better at delivering much needed funds for major projects, and therefore jobs, to the South West. The Lib Dems, for so long the darlings of the Cornish, as they appeared to be the 'alternative' vote against the big two have shot themselves in the foot. They prostituted themselves around in 2010 and jumped into bed with Dave when he gave them what they craved, some miniscule resemblance of power. They have been show as a no nothing, do nothing bunch hanging on the Daves every word, they will pay dearly for that in 2015. Whilst it pains me to say it, and perhaps man others in the Duchy, I can see UKIP gaining some votes, either that or Mebyon Kernow may rise up on a wave of Cornish Nationalism against the 'English' parties. If anyone is honest, the Tories have not created a single job in the decades of wasted power they enjoyed since Thatcher broke the camels back. She sold off the family jewels, bribed the UK with Tax Cuts and got lucking by winning the Falklands War when massively behind in the polls. In reality, the UK had interest rates upwards of 15% in the 80's, unemployment went from 1.1m to 4.3m and the moral decline of the UK was started with her 'Greed is Good' culture. Not one single job created by her policies, the banks were given the freedom to rip people off in the 'Big Bang' of the City of London, Essex boys working in the City ditched Cortinas for Porches, Essex girls got the taste for money, she ditched her fella woking at Fords and jumped into the seat of fast money. Down here in Cornwall, Maggie was busy signing away the rights of Farmers, Fishermen and was hell bent on destroying anything and anyone to do with mining of any sort. Yes, Maggie the saviour was nothing but the start of the self-servatives who now roam middle England reading the Daily Fail. Maggies policies created the term 'boom and bust', there were two full blown recessions from 79-93, only the Tories were in power for the whole period, couldn't blame Labour or the world bankers. She allowed Council Houses to be sold off, not a bad thing if one had been rebuilt to replace every one sold, but that was never the plan. This sowed the seed for the Cornish housing crisis, those from up north came down on holiday, cash rich after making a few quid from selling the Gas/BT/Etc shares there were bribed with, and started buying cheap properties on the coast - prices went up but this didn't stop the flow of cash down here, your Parents and Grand-Parents took the money, sold the family home for the price of a garden shed in London and left the next generation with no-where to live as prices continued to rocket skywards. Even 15yrs ago, you could have bought a two bed house overlooking the sea with use of a shared pool for £39,000 or bought a 3 bed house at St Eval when the RAF sold them off for the same price - remember the queues of tents for a week or more, many came from upcountry to benefit from the low cost housing... and that was the end of it. Labour got in, we all got richer, life was good until the Bankers of the World screwed us over and Dave & Chums cashed in. The only party that has ever stood up and supported Cornwall and the Cornish are Labour, Labour created the RDA, the Tories dismantled it.

  • Gurnards_Head  |  February 08 2013, 12:56PM

    Well theres the pot calling the kettle black, Mr Balls hairstyle is not exactly a crew cut in fact if his hair was that awful shade of ginger blond he could be employed as a stunt double for that fine example of wig wearing capitalist masculinity Donald Trump.

    |   3
  • DogsDanglies  |  February 08 2013, 9:37AM

    ""But Mr Balls, architect of Labour's economic policy, .... "". All that needs to be said really ... I cannot believe that people still think about voting for anyone in the Labour Party (or New Labour, or whatever they decide the moniker of the week is ..). For that matter, I cannot believe that people still think about voting for anyone in any mainstream party, there is no difference between them and none of them have any interest in what the electorate think, except just before polling day. DD

    |   2