Ministers should support 'failing' towns says Heseltine

 
Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine Lord Heseltine was known as the "Minister for Merseyside" in the 1980s

The former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has dismissed claims that "failing" towns and cities should be abandoned by the government.

An article in The Economist suggested that a number of industrial towns were "decaying" and their inhabitants should be encouraged to find jobs elsewhere.

The magazine listed Hull, Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool as places where "dollops of public money" had failed to boost the local economy, despite years of heroic effort.

The article has caused an outcry in Hull, where the city council leader described its recommendations as "disgusting".

In an interview for the Sunday Politics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Lord Heseltine said similar claims were made about Liverpool in the 1980s.

Michael Heseltine was appointed by Margaret Thatcher to lead the regeneration of Liverpool, following riots in the city in 1981.

The former Conservative cabinet minister claims the best way to stimulate economic growth in deprived towns and cities is to devolve more power away from Whitehall.

Lord Heseltine said: "What I have argued over decades is that we should say to cities what would you do?

"Because you know what Leeds needs, what Bradford needs and what Hull needs."

Former Liverpool MP Peter Kilfoyle told me there had been numerous calls over the years to turn-off the government spending taps on Merseyside.

Mr Kilfoyle, who served as a Labour minister under Tony Blair, said: "We had a think-tank a few years ago which said that Liverpool should be abandoned and everybody should move to the south.

"This is nonsense. Any forward looking government would want to invest in Hull, just as they invested in Liverpool."

Cabinet papers from 1981 reveal the chancellor of the exchequer at the time - Sir Geoffrey Howe - raised the possibility of a programme of "managed decline" in Liverpool.

However, Lord Howe recently said there was never a suggestion that Liverpool should be abandoned by the Conservative government in the 1980s.

 
Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    Illaghee - the £1.5b regeneration at Elephant and Castle isn't public money. Correct me if I'm wrong but private developers are not tripping over themselves to redevelop areas of Hull and sell flats starting from £330,000 each

  • rate this
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    Comment number 31.

    There are better people for the Oxbridge gaggle to pick on than Yorkshire folks. They should know this by now. Hull's out of the way, the transport link to the port through the city needs work (it's mostly roundabouts atm), the Humber Bridge being £2.70 BOTH ways didn't help (it's down now). I think those people who haven't been back in over 10 years will be pleasantly surprise if they did.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    You cannot just abandon cities because they are of no use to you anymore, what a disgusting thing to say.On Yer Bike politics dont wash with me, they did that in the 80s, my reaction is the same, and I have lived north and south, currently somewhere in the middle, I love the north,the people are nicer, friendlier and kinder than the wage slaves down south.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-21338296

    All those who believe places like Hull and Burnley get more help off the government, you are very mislead. I can say Hull has never had a £1.5bn investment regeneration scheme, or anything near it. I cant believe how one estate in London can recieve so much government help. This is whats wrong with this country all investment is aimed south!!.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 28.

    All the jobs are in the south (where there is a housing shortage) whilst the North has an abundance of cheap housing stock and a flexible labour force. The plan they come up with is to abandon the North and have more people to move south? How about devolve more central departments to the North and set up incentives for business to operate in the old Industrial Towns - or is that too complicated?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 27.

    Most countries make the most of what they have, but not the UK. In a nation like australia or US London and Newcastle would be considered a short hop up the road, here its seen like the other side of the universe. The Uk is compact. London (lived here for 15 years btw) is an overcrowded mess, full of people jumping around producing nothing. Get everyone to move here and abandon the north madness..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 26.

    Would be interesting to know how much return the country as a whole gets on its investment in places like Hull and Burnley. In comparison to the much smaller government spending in places like Cambridge. I say this as someone who lives in Leeds and was born in Manchester.
    Secondly, all those decrying the failing in manufacturing please feel free to set up your own small high tech. business.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    Nothing to do with Thatcher ripping the heart out of British industry and then consecutive tory and labour governments failing to rebalance the economy away from the home counties and their mates in finance?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 24.

    The North has a history of practical can-do.

    PPE graduates generally haven't the faintest what that means, and what kind of people it engenders there. So they'd rather concentrate on things where they think they'll sound clever.

    Hestletine, to his credit, has long seen through this.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    For Think-Tank read US Republican billionaire funded Think-Hard-Right-Tank.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    Rome vanished but not in a day. Curling the toes up at the edge's is not a good sign, really.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    All the artists are from Hull and surrounds!!. The first is 2012 second 2013 come make 2014!!.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAZapDpeyfE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oca2L1WiROo

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    The rest of the country can say what they like about Hull, its on the up because of a few things that show it off good. One of them is Humber Street Sesh, if you like music and you like people then this is an event for you. Next year will be its third year running, it went from 15,000 to 40,000 to what we make of it next year. Look up the vids on youtube Yorkshire folk are salt of the earth.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 19.

    I like how this article is a postage stamp at the bottom of BBC News page. Dont you think these places deserve more attention huh?? BBC. Maybe if the 20,000 EU economic migrants that are in Hull went home we could get somewhere. Also if this scumbag government raised NMW so people could afford to live, we all dont live 10 people to a property like these economic migrants. NMW is a joke, fact!!.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 18.

    Actually what he said was, we should all give up and go south. The reality of it is that so much investment goes into everywhere else but these places, Hull, Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. Depends what you call investment, London gets any bridge, any tunnel built and paid for by the taxpayer. It takes Hull 12 years to get the main route through Hull upgraded, a gateway to europe??????????.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 17.

    @"Absolutely appalling and inflammatory comments from The London centric newspaper The Economist"

    What the economist actually said is "In America, cities that decline must redefine themselves". The UK government pumps in money to try and "keep you head above the water" rather than to reform. I don't think it does any city any good to be reliant on handouts from the central government.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 16.

    De-industrialisation has been deliberate policy for over 3 decades.
    We are now living with the resulting impoverishment.
    Where`s the surprise in this?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 15.

    Believe it or not the streets of London are not paved with gold. Some of the highest levels of deprivation and unemployment in the country. Yet more money "leaks" to the rest of the country than Londoners get.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    Absolutely appalling and inflammatory comments from The London centric newspaper The Economist, and like yesterdays fish and chip paper, it deserves to be put,in the bin.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    I wrote this piece several months ago and it demonstrates the point being made by Lord Heseltine:-http://betweendenbighandkeele.blogspot.com/2013/05/enid-jones-woman-for-our-times.html

 

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