Gordon Quizzes Chancellor In Commons
Gordon Marsden has quizzed the Chancellor George Osborne in Parliament over policies that have left economic growth in Blackpool and elsewhere stagnating.
Gordon who is also Shadow Minister covering economic policy for the English regions, told MPs during a crowded and specially recalled Commons session to look at the riots and the economic situation that it was ‘revealing’ that it had taken the Chancellor till page 5 of his 6 page statement on the economy ‘even stutteringly to mention the word growth’.
He added that it was the Chancellor’s ‘reckless abolition’ of the North West Development Agency – which helped fund Blackpool’s new tramway, Tower Headland and the funding package which allowed the Council to acquire and refurbish the Tower and Winter Gardens – and other regional agencies – that had left the English regions ‘stagnant in growth’ over the past nine months.
In reply the Chancellor said that the ‘local enterprise partnerships’ (including the Lancashire LEP) involving business which the Government has set out to replace the development agencies would ‘help to deliver local growth’.
However Gordon who had said in his comments to Parliament that the Chancellor had failed to put money into the local enterprise partnerships added afterwards – ‘I’m afraid that George Osborne has let not just residents but also businesses across Blackpool and the North-West down badly with his complete failure to come up with an alternative to the RDA support that served Blackpool well in its regeneration.’
‘Business groups and enterprise partnerships countrywide have repeatedly told me as Shadow Minister that they need proper powers, access to the RDA’s assets and some decent start-up funding to get going – and I’ve emphasised this several times to Ministers.’
George Osborne just does not get it – and he has no excuse as a North-West MP himself. That’s why I used today’s special session to urge him to change course. When his own growth forecasts have been downgraded five times in the last year by the Government’s independent watchdog, it’s time he stopped being smug and started listening’.