Lord Heseltine has revealed that the competition to win a slice of a £2bn pot of Whitehall cash to be sent to the regions has been heavily oversubscribed – but said that the announcement due next month would be the start of a plan for the long term.

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The former cabinet minister, who was appointed the coalition’s economic growth adviser, said that the process – which has seen bids spearheaded by local enterprise partnerships, and backed by local councillors, universities and colleges and business people – was “unprecedented in English history.”

The former Conservative party deputy prime minister, who has been advising the government on the bids, said: “It’s fair to say they have exceeded our expectations, they are heavily oversubscribed compared to the money that’s available.But the money that’s available in 2015-16 – £2bn – is merely the first year of a long-term programme.”

Norfolk and Suffolk’s local enterprise partnership, New Anglia, has been holding talks with the government and is expected to hear in July if it has been successful.

In 2012 Lord Heseltine urged the government to take bolder action to stimulate the economy in his report No Stone Unturned, in which he said he wanted to devolve power from London to the English regions. Questioned on whether he would like to see the government take more spending decisions away from Whitehall, he said that he believed that what the local enterprise partnerships were doing justified more confidence in the amount of money that was allocated.

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Comment – page 22

1 comment

  • I think that this is as foolish a scheme as NCC doling out money every year to unaccountable and unrepresentative groups. Norfolk is unlikely to benefit from this and would do better if the Barnett formula was heavily revised to give fairer central government funding to regions like East Anglia. And despite that, I do not wish for power to be devolved to the regions-England is not a huge country, it needs to be run for the benefit of the whole.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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