Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Dugher, has announced that Labour would appoint a Minister for Yorkshire and Humber in Government to support Labour’s city-region growth agenda.
In a speech to the IPPR on Tuesday, Michael Dugher said that only Labour can offer a One Nation platform and deliver jobs and growth in every region.
As part of Labour’s devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities, Regional Ministers would facilitate relationships between Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Authorities and central government; advise Ministers on the impact of local and regional policy; bring existing structures and the private sector together to encourage investment; and would be a visible representative of their area in Whitehall.
Regional Ministers would be critical in delivering Labour’s agenda to devolve more power to city-regions and Local Authorities.
Labour would set up a Regional Committee sitting in the Cabinet Office, made up of all Regional Ministers and Chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office to monitor local and regional policy outcomes.
Announcing that Labour would introduce Regional Ministers, Michael Dugher said:
“Our belief is that regional growth demands sub-regional initiatives, co-ordinated and driven forward at regional level.
“Labour is pledging to introduce Regional Ministers to put the voice of the English regions at the heart of Labour decision-making. They will help to shape policy around local and regional interests with a view to correcting the regional inequalities that have arisen under the Tories.
“Regional Ministers would not be a replica of what came before, but rather would be complementary to our agenda to devolve more power to city-regions.
“Regional Ministers would bring together central government, business and local authorities, advise Ministers on the impact of government policy in the regions and promote inward investment.”
Michael Dugher also critiqued David Cameron’s modernising project, pointing to early totemic policies which have been abandoned in government. He contrasted David Cameron with Harold Macmillan, showing how he has undermined the Conservatives’ One Nation heritage.
Critiquing David Cameron’s record in government, Michael Dugher said:
“Like Cameron, Harold Macmillan went to Eton, but Macmillan’s political outlook was shaped by his serving in the First World War, a misery he shared with men from all backgrounds, and as MP for the northern industrial constituency of Stockton-on-Tees. David Cameron stands up for a privileged few not because of where he went to school, but because, unlike Macmillan, he has never really been anywhere else.
“David Cameron has failed to convince his party, because he preferred instead to regularly compromise with his party. One Nation Conservatism now appears little more than a PR exercise that has given way to the re-emergence of divide and rule, core-vote Conservatism.
“David Cameron now clings to the outdated ideology of ‘trickle-down’ economics - a model whereby growing prosperity of a few at the top eventually benefits others, in spite of growing inequalities between classes, ages and regions.
“The result is not just that David Cameron’s Government now occupies the political territory against which he once defined his modernising project. Far worse, the aspirational majority who work hard, pay their taxes, who want to get on and do well, are working harder for less.”