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Jim McMahon MP, Shadow Minister for Devolution, commenting on the publication of the first report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership:

“Labour is the party of devolution, and Labour councils have welcomed the breaking down of barriers to ensure power flows from Westminster into regions across the UK. Done right, devolution can empower our communities. But done wrong, it’s just cover for more cuts.

"It is deeply ironic for George Osborne to highlight the North-South divide in our country when it is his failed economic plan which has deepened that regional inequality. George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse failed to devolve real freedoms, genuine financial reform and sufficient funding to redress the economic and social imbalances which exist. It quickly became seen as a toxic brand and a hollow exercise in political PR to boost Osborne’s reputation.

"George Osborne’s version of devolution was used as a smokescreen for devolving cuts. By giving piecemeal powers to local authorities, along with huge budget reductions, central government forced the blame for cuts on to local councils. The Tories give with one hand and take away with the other. Ten of the twelve “struggling” cities in the UK are located in the Northern Powerhouse, but this government’s destructive and counter-productive cuts to local services are making the Northern Powerhouse look more like a Northern Poorhouse.

"You simply cannot empower local government if you impoverish it. George Osborne’s – and now Phillip Hammond’s – brutal and punishing cuts have left local government facing a £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. The IFS predicts a 79% cut in direct funding for local government between 2010 and 2020, with the local authorities with the highest levels of deprivation receiving some of the greatest cuts. The move towards “financial self-sufficiency” for local councils is looking more and more like an ideological drive to make the poor areas poorer and the rich areas richer.

"The £2.6 billion hole in social care funding is leaving 1.2 million elderly people without the care they need, libraries, museums and youth centres have closed and there is a national housing crisis, with rough sleeping on the rise. And £2 billion worth of EU Structural Funds in the Northern Powerhouse are at risk after we leave the EU and are not guaranteed to be replaced by Government. Government is devolving responsibilities whilst cutting resources to the bone.

"Furthermore, it is crucial that all of the North feels the warmth of growth and prosperity - not just the city-regions who will be electing Mayors this year. The Government’s devolution agenda has failed to reach the smaller cities and towns, let alone rural areas.

"A Labour government will introduce a radical devolution agenda which sees power handed back to communities, giving councils, residents and business the opportunity to shape the way their services provided. This will be backed up by Regional Investment Banks, including a Bank of the North, which will complement rather than complicate, existing local government structures.” 

Osborne is no champion for the North

  Jim McMahon MP, Shadow Minister for Devolution, commenting on the publication of the first report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership: “Labour is the party of devolution, and Labour councils...

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Clive Lewis MP and Gill Furniss MP at Sheffield Forgemasters

 

The Tories are failing on infrastructure

The Government has unveiled a National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. However, of the top twenty infrastructure and construction projects receiving the most funds, only two are in the North East, North West or Yorkshire and the Humber.

Source: ‘National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline’, 5 December 2016


The Tories are failing on jobs, growth and pay 

  • Economic growth between 2010 and 2015 was lower in the North East (7.7%), the North West (7.2%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (5.2%) than across the UK (9.9%).
  • Over the next decade, average GVA growth per year is projected to be lower in the North East (1.6%), the North West (1.9%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.8%) than across the UK (2.1%).
  • The unemployment rates in the North East (6.8%), the North West (5.3%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (4.9%) are all higher than the UK average (4.8%).
  • The employment rates in the North East (70.5%), the North West (73%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (73.6%) are all lower than the UK average (74.5%).
  • Average earnings in the North East (£492 per week), North West (£502pw) and Yorkshire and the Humber (£498pw) are all lower than the UK average of £539pw.

Source: ‘Regional and Country Economic Indicators’, House of Commons Library Briefing Paper, 18 January 2017

 

Tory cuts to local government are hitting the North hard 

  • Tory cuts to local government spending power across England are hitting the most deprived councils hardest. The six most deprived areas are all in the North, all of whom have seen cuts of more than three times the national average cut of £169.

Deprivation rank

Council

Change in spending power per household 2011/12 to 2019/20

1

Blackpool

-£566.28

2

Knowsley

-£761.58

3

Kingston upon Hull

-£535.56

4

Liverpool

-£670.94

5

Manchester

-£613.52

6

Middlesbrough

-£585.70

7

Birmingham

-£695.34

8

Nottingham

-£474.91

9

Burnley

-£191.38

10

Tower Hamlets

-£585.29

 

Source: Labour Party research on change in spending power per household from 2011/12 to 2019/20 based on House of Commons library and DCLG spending power 2016 -2017 statistics.

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, responding to the Government’s announcement of investment in the Northern Powerhouse, said: 

"Today’s announcement of just over £500 million for the so-called Northern Powerhouse will be a welcome boost for the North. However, the figure pales into insignificance when you consider that local authorities lost £18bn of Government funding in real terms between 2010-15, with the poorest councils bearing the brunt of the cuts.

“Labour has committed to investing £250 billion of direct capital expenditure in UK infrastructure. This is the scale of investment needed in order to repair the damage caused by decades of de-industrialisation in the North of England.
 
“From what we have seen of the Government’s industrial strategy so far I am not convinced they are committed to the long term investment needed to transform the Northern economy.”

Clive Lewis MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who last week visited South Yorkshire as part of Labour's ongoing Industrial Strategy consulation, said:

"This belated attempt to develop a proper industrial strategy is a step in the right direction, but once again what the Tories are offering looks like too little too late.

“We await further detail, but what's been announced so far will fall far short of getting us back to where we were in 2010, let alone equip our economy for the challenges of the 21st Century. The £170m announced for vocational education, for example, will do little to plug the £1.15bn hole in the Adult Skills Budget created by Tory cuts since 2010. 

“It will be a great shame if the Government wastes this opportunity to put our economy on a new path. But they have already watered down a series of flagship commitments, from putting workers on boards to tackling executive pay, and there are too many people on the Tory benches who think that the only role of Government is to deregulate markets. The reality is that a Prime Minister who wants to turn us into a tax haven cannot be trusted to deliver an industrial strategy.”

 

Tories are failing to commit to the long-term investment needed to transform the Northern economy

  Clive Lewis MP and Gill Furniss MP at Sheffield Forgemasters   The Tories are failing on infrastructure The Government has unveiled a National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. However, of...

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Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on the Public Accounts Committee report on HS2, said:

“The benefits HS2 can bring to the country are significant but the Government must urgently get a grip in order to keep the project on track.

“The Public Accounts Committee report was damning, showing that Phase 1 looks to be behind schedule and over-budget and casting doubt over the promised benefits to the rest of the country.

“There have always been concerns over how soon the North of the country would benefit from HS2, but with cost estimates for phase 2 all over the place, there’s now a real concern that the project will be downgraded.

“To be at this stage and still not know how much it will cost, what the route will be and when it will open, is unacceptable.

“The Government need to answer why they have failed to set a workable and realistic timetable for HS2 and to give guarantees of their commitment to delivering the entirety of the high speed railway.”

Government must urgently get a grip in order to keep HS2 project on track

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on the Public Accounts Committee report on HS2, said: “The benefits HS2 can bring to the country are significant but the Government...

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