Labour slams Heseltine briefing
Labour has described as “astonishing” reports in today’s newspapers that the Chancellor is uncomfortable with proposals expected to be unveiled by Lord Heseltine this week.
The Conservative peer will unveil his recommendations to boost regional growth, including relocating civil servants outside of London and boosting the power of local enterprise partnerships, on Wednesday. However George Osborne is reported to be concerned that such moves will lead to increased bureaucracy.
Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna hit out at the briefing, and claimed Labour shared “common ground” with the Tory peer.
He told Sky News’ Murnaghan show: “I’m astounded that today, even before Lord Heseltine’s report has been published, it’s being briefed against by people in Whitehall before we’ve seen its contents...
“I don't know what’s going to be in Lord Heseltine’s report but if you look at what things he’s said, they very much chime with what I’ve said. So for example I thought it was a retrograde step abolishing the regional development agencies.”
It comes after Nick Clegg today warned the British economy needs to be rebalanced as London cannot keep providing “bailouts for the rest of the country”. Speaking to the Observer ahead of an announcement tomorrow on devolving more power to cities, Mr Clegg also said the economic recovery will be “fitful” despite last week’s GDP figures showing 1% growth.