March 10 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Friday, January 31, 2014
Labour’s shadow business secretary has hinted he would slash the number of ministers in a bid to give more power to the regions if his party wins power in 2015.
Chuka Umunna heralded the French system of government as he set out his plans at a lunch in Westminster.
Although he did not reveal a blueprint for how power would be handed out, he said: “How can I be dictating to people in Manchester, Sunderland, Newcastle, Birmingham - wherever it is - what is best for their regional economy?
“They know what’s best for their regional economy, they know how they can be world-beating - and we’ve got to give them the tools to do that.”
Labour has already indicated that it would keep Local Enterprise Partnership, such New Anglia in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Mr Umunna said: “They (in France) have about 40 ministers – we have over 80 in this country - and that’s partly because there’s a lot more power for their mayors and local elected representatives. Therefore, there isn’t the need for so many ministers at the centre. That illustrates just how centralised we are as a country,” he said.
Asked if Labour also wanted to cut minister in the UK he replied: “I think that’s certainly something I can envisage – yes. If you end up with a smaller number of ministers, because you have pushed power out, then I’m fine with that.”
Over the next few months, for transport secretary and Labour peer Lord Adonis will be touring the country as he carries out a “growth review” for the Labour Party and Mr Umunna said he eagerly awaited the results.