Gordon Marsden MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Minister, responding to the announcement that the Housing and Communities Agency will be allowed to take on the majority of Regional Development Agency assets and allowing Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities to access them, said:
“Vince Cable and Eric Pickles have been forced to retreat from a full-blown fire sale of RDA assets after months of pressure from Labour, local authorities and business organisations. We called for LEPs and LAs to be given the ability to take on assets back in February, and this halfway measure is as result of our campaigning.
“They now need to make clear whether the HCA will simply be a ‘fig-leaf’ of Localism in determining future of RDA Assets or in reality decision making drifts in Whitehall.
“Assets meant for the regions should stay in the regions, and local authorities and LEPs must have a leading say over what happens to assets in their areas. They’re crucial for regional growth, which Labour has proposed to boost by £200million extra for the Regional Growth Fund through a repeat of the bankers’ bonus tax.
"The Tory-led Government is creating a vicious circle in our economy because they are cutting too far and too fast – hitting families and costing jobs across the regions. More people out of work and on benefits will make it harder to get the deficit down.”