Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, commenting on the Government’s response to Lord Heseltine’s report, said:
“Today’s announcement underlines the short-sighted decision to abolish the regional development agencies in 2010, which caused uncertainty, deterred investment and held back regional and local economies.
“Local areas should have the powers and resources they need to get growth going and create jobs, but this devolution must not be used as a cover for even deeper cuts. And it is crucial that accountability, proper transparency and good governance are in place if government is to devolve this public money.
“We need active government at all levels using all the levers at its disposal to get our economy moving and create jobs. Ministers must finally recognise that national government must also act to kickstart our flatlining economy, for instance by bringing forward infrastructure investment, a national insurance holiday for small firms taking on extra workers and tax cuts for families on middle and low incomes.
“Our economy has now flatlined for nearly three years, but the Government still does not have a growth plan that can meet the scale of the challenge.”<img alt="Chuka Umunna" src="uploads/thumbs/M_47540341-44f4-0184-2d30-22f9ed94e4d3.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 3px;"/>
Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:
“Lord Heseltine’s approach of devolving economic power and giving local areas the resources and tools to drive growth is welcome.
“However ministers must not use his proposals as a smokescreen for cutting the various budgets which are being pooled and devolving blame for this. We will be keeping a watchful eye over implementation to ensure that this is not the case. Any moves by the Government to pass the buck for its economic failure will fail. A real and meaningful devolution of resources from Whitehall is what is now needed to help local economies to grow.
“There are still real concerns over the accountability of Local Enterprise Partnerships as well as their capacity to deliver which now need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We want to see strong business involvement, proper transparency and strong governance in the implementation of Lord Heseltine’s proposals on a local level.”<div>