Heseltine unveils growth strategy
Billions of pounds in funding should be stripped from Whitehall and handed to the regions, according to a government-commissioned report by Lord Heseltine.
The former Tory deputy prime minister's 'No Stone Unturned' review urges the Government to send out an “unequivocal message” that it has a credible strategy on growth.
Labour has seized on the report, with Ed Miliband bringing it up at Prime Minister's Questions today.
He asserted: "Here is the reality: Lord Heseltine says in the report there are people who are resistant to his ideas. We know they are – the Chancellor and the Prime Minister. Deregulation, sink-or-swim, their answer is not the answer."
He then told the Prime Minister: "Lord Heseltine’s right, you’re wrong."
Mr Cameron hit back, saying of Mr Miliband: "He's no Michael Heseltine".
The report calls on ministers to release £49bn from central government to the regions to help fledgling local enterprise partnerships, under the biggest decentralisation of funds and power in the UK for decades.
Chancellor George Osborne says he will study the report "very carefully".
In a speech in Birmingham this morning, Lord Heseltine
said the Government needed to “reinvigorate” local leadership across the country. “Whitehall’s ambitions should be to do less and do it better,” he said.
“We need to complete and compete in a rapidly changing word where the competition is intensifying year by year.”
The peer told the Today programme earlier: "I want to bolster [the Government's] confidence to take another stride, particularly in unleashing the powers of our provincial cities.
"I do think there's an enormous opportunity to rebuild something of the spirit in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and all those other places that represents what made this country in the first place. London didn't make the country. It has over the last half century accumulated too much power."