Heseltine report calls for action to stimulate growth

 

Ed Miliband taunted David Cameron with quotes from Lord Heseltine's report on growth and energy

Former Conservative party deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has urged the government to take bolder action to stimulate the economy.

In a new report, commissioned by Downing Street, he says that people think the UK "does not have a strategy for growth and wealth creation".

He wants to devolve power from London to the English regions.

In the Commons, David Cameron and Ed Milliband argued over whether the report backed or damned the government.

Lord Heseltine's report, No Stone Unturned, makes 89 recommendations to help industry. One of its key aims is to move £49bn from central government to the English regions to help local leaders and businesses.

The aim, he said, was to devolve power from Whitehall and re-invigorate the big cities that had fuelled the growth and wealth that the country had enjoyed in past decades.

Lord Heseltine, head of the Department of Trade and Industry in the 1980s, said the government should allocate growth funds through the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) that are being established in England in place of Regional Development Agencies.

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This is a war cry from the man whose golden locks and virtuoso performances earned him the nickname Tarzan”

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In 2010, the government invited local business and civic leaders to come forward with proposals for establishing LEPs that reflected natural economic geographies.

Lord Heseltine believes these bodies could be key to stimulating regional growth, but said that, at the moment, LEPs did not currently have "the authority or resource to transform their locality in the way our economy needs".

'Inertia'

At the national level, however, the government should show greater leadership in promoting major infrastructure projects, Lord Heseltine said. A national growth council should be created, chaired by the prime minister and with a cross-government focus.

"Central government must retain control of important, large scale infrastructure projects. This includes our motorway network, national rail network and airports, as well as our energy networks," Lord Heseltine said.

In all these sectors, there must be greater investment and a clearer strategy of what the UK needs. He cited the delay and "inertia" over building extra airport capacity in the south east, and called on all the political promises to make firm commitments in their next manifestos about how they will resolve the problem.

Lord Heseltine

Lord Heseltine
  • Self-made millionaire as founder of publishing firm Haymarket
  • Nicknamed Tarzan after waving the mace above his head in House of Commons
  • Dubbed Mr Merseyside after promoting regeneration in the area following the Toxteth riots
  • Introduced Enterprise Zones which contributed to the creation of the Canary Wharf financial district in London

Lord Heseltine also backed suggestions that pension funds should provide funding for infrastructure projects. With yields on investments in stocks and shares at historically low levels "there is a well of money looking for a better return than currently available in the market," he said.

He said that throughout the regions there was excellence in industry, commerce and academia, which should be extended and that cities were "pulsing with energy" that should be unleashed.

He backed the government's economic strategy, and said it was taking the right path to recovery. But later, in an interview with the BBC, Lord Heseltine said there was "an urgency" about stimulating growth. "Across the world there are emerging economies that want our jobs and our wealth," he told the Today programme.

"We need to mobilise the skills of provincial England. I want to shove power out of Whitehall, into the provinces," he said, adding that "London has acquired too much power".

'Received wisdom'

Lord Heseltine admitted his ideas would go down like a "lead balloon" in parts of Whitehall because he was suggesting government departments should lose some of their power.

Asked whether his conclusions might be at odds with thinking in the Treasury, Lord Heseltine said: "I do not work for the Treasury, I work for George Osborne. And George has been behind this initiative."

Lord Heseltine: Towns and cities ''need to have a bigger say in the way that money is spent''

He added: "I have got baggage, they know my views. There are bound to be things where they say, 'oh my god, here he goes again'. I have told it as I see it, but I have told it in a way that is very supportive of the government."

In the Commons, the Conservative and Labour leaders disputed the report's sentiments. Mr Milliband said that Lord Heseltine's comment that people believe there is no growth strategy was damning.

But Mr Cameron cited the report's conclusion that the coalition government was "on the right track". He added that it was an "excellent" report, and told Mr Milliband that it was pointless to just trade quotes

Chancellor George Osborne said he would "study it [the report] very carefully". He said: "I wanted Lord Heseltine to do what he does best: challenge received wisdom and give us ideas on how to bring government and industry together. He has done exactly that."

The Institute of Directors (IoD) business group welcomed the devolution of power to the local. The TUC also supported the report, but said that ministers are going to have to change their attitude towards civil servants, public bodies and unions if they want this strategy to succeed."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 548.

    Lord Heseltine is absolutely right. Focussing on London and the South-east for growth and expenditure is not only flawed, but it ignores the wealth creating potential of the British people who form the majority on these islands.
    Move parliament to the Midlands!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 547.

    its not about growth but spending our money wisely

    something our governments have never been good at!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 546.

    Trouble is these so called regions make no sense.I live in northern Lincolnshire and we are bunged into a so called the Yorkshire and Humber region the rest of Lincolnshire into the East Midlands region.The term Humber no doubt comes from Humberside an artifical county created by guess who Heseltine and Whitehall in1974.Hated by us in Lincs so got rid of in 1996 lets have a all Lincolnshire body.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 545.

    Micheal Hestletine I was so surprised to here from him, I thought he had died, then it dawned on me that he hadn't!. Just goes to show what an elitist education does for you, it's turns you into a nutcase! Its just like most of his political career really, most of what he has to say is pointless, inaccurate and complete nonsense. Put you head back in the sand MH.and go back to sleep.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 544.

    How about a transaction tax for the City to start to put some money back in the coffers ? I doubt the Tories will tax their mates but it is truly disgusting that those who gambled and lost and were bailed out by the taxpayer are still free to rake it in while the poor bare the brunt of savage government cuts. In this together ? It would be funny if weren't so nauseating.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 543.

    I quickly read the report and I didn't notice anything new or anything that we are not already doing.

    There isn't £50b kicking around. The National Debt, the debt that you ask your children to pay, is currently £1,070b. That is £36,000 per working person. And it is growing by £4,000 per working person per year.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 542.

    I am afraid this fool is the same fool that opposed the national minimum wage saying it would bankrupt business a number of years ago. This is the same fool who thought it was cheaper to import coal and closed our mines down, The same fool who presided over the proposed managed decline of Liverpool. Community what do you know MH, you've killed a few in your time. There's no fool like and old fool.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 541.

    If we were "all in this together" we would be out of it sooner - we are NOT and we won't.

    We are a savagely divided people.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 540.

    What we need is less government, less advice from civil servants, lords and other vested interests, less taxation but sensible regulation to control monopolistic situations and reasonable treatment of people bearing in mind we have to compete on a global scale. Do that and the economy will recover and we will prosper. If politicians interfere we are all doomed, again.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 539.

    536. LUFCAT
    +++
    Tax UK assets, tax at source, it is not an insurmountable problem, mansion tax would be a start. Vodaphone could be charged a levy to operate in UK, Starbucks could pay a levy on each cup of coffee sold, Button and Lewis could be charged entry levies to UK, only takes a little imagination.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 538.

    I love how the Tory Twitterati are always proclaiming that they have found that "One" MP that is going to break serve and save the party.
    I remember Louis Mensch being one of them..( LOL)
    Now it seems they are trying to do a "Weekend at Bernies" style act with Heseltine.Waah Haa Haaar !!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 537.

    am using this as a had hoc rebelion against the bbc. But who cares where obama visits and why is it our headlines

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 536.

    515.Name Number 6
    Wouldn't it just be easier to collect all the tax from the off shorers and Vodaphone et al?
    +++
    But how do you collect taxes from those that are taxed offshore? Offshore means not UK so how would we do it? My experience of working in Jersey, Guernsy and the Isle of Man is that they would not co-operate with UK tax authorities.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 535.

    532. Tanglewood

    So you'd be happy for the government to appropriate an additional 12% of *your* income to spend (more likely waste) on crackpot schemes based on political expediency?
    +++
    No, I'd be happy for the Gov to collect all the tax that is due, stop tax cuts & subsidies to the rich and to invest in houses & infrastructure to grow the economy and give all chance to not just bondholders.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 534.

    514. Marlais
    There are 3 areas where savings could be made. Cutting immigration, foreign aid and reducing our contribution to the EU budget (though getting out entirely would be preferable).
    Unfortunately all of the above seem to be sacrosanct in the eyes of the Govt.
    ////////
    Maybe they simply aren't the great ideas you think they are. Based on subjective dislikes rather than economic fact etc.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 533.

    As there is no HYS on Theresa May's plans to snoop on all web activities, can I say I would be happy for her dippy idea as long as I can see ALL MP and PM emails and activities. After all, she works for us, the electorate, not the other way round.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 532.

    #520: "Just 12% of top earners pay would top up 7 million workers to a living wage and boost High Street economies by £100 billion."

    So you'd be happy for the government to appropriate an additional 12% of *your* income to spend (more likely waste) on crackpot schemes based on political expediency? Thought not - its always "other people" who should pay more tax, isn't it ...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 531.

    I see Bill Cash voted against his own Government tonight, my my, old Tory dinosaurs really on the up today.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 530.

    The economic equilibrium is slow burn now - wealthy entities are perceived to hold the commanding position for setting terms of investment, but whilst these exceed entrepreneurial pain thresholds UK plc is going nowhere fast. Exhortations to e.g. increase infrastructure spend sound positive, if not particularly new, and should make the give and take equation more fluid.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 529.

    Ed Miliband taunted David Cameron with quotes from Lord Heseltine's report on growth and energy - BBC
    --
    A bereft govt, and a leader of the opposition so cluelessly absent of policies he's relying on quotes from some superannuated lord. God help us.

 

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