Labour pledges funding boost for English cities


Ed Miliband offered a "new bargain" to town halls

Related Stories

Labour has promised English cities more powers over transport, housing and employment to help close the "productivity gap" with London.

If elected, the party would hand £20bn to councils to spend on skills, back-to-work schemes and infrastructure, leader Ed Miliband said.

Local authorities would have to bid for cash and put private sector jobs first.

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Miliband said the UK needed to "build prosperity" outside London.

The coalition government has introduced Enterprise Zones, City Deals, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund since 2010 in an effort to boost economic development in the English regions.

But a recent report by the public spending watchdog suggested that of the £2.6bn allocated through the Regional Growth Fund, only £492m had so far actually reached projects.

Jobs push

Mr Miliband claimed the government had missed the opportunity to give English towns and cities the economic levers they needed to generate new jobs.

Announcing the results of a review by the former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, Mr Miliband said a future Labour government would invite every local authority, local enterprise partnership and university to work together in partnership with local businesses to bid for resources.

Start Quote

We need a prosperous London but we also need to build prosperity outside it”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

He claimed the doubling of existing devolved funding would amount to the "biggest devolution of powers to towns and cities in a hundred years".

Councils which submit plans before the end of the 2015-16 financial year would get a slice of funding as part of a future Labour government's first multi-year spending review.

The powers which could be handed over include control over apprenticeship budgets and local delivery of the Work Programme - including the power to choose private sector providers.

Councils would need to show they could meet certain criteria and that their economic strategies were predicated on creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs in the private sector.

"Each and every authority which can bring forward plans of this sort... will receive powers and access to resources from Whitehall the like of which we have not seen in living memory," Mr Miliband said.

'Breaking the pattern'

Labour also promised to create nine ministers, each representing a region of England.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher said these would "help to shape policy around local and regional interests with a view to correcting the regional inequalities that have arisen".

Mr Miliband suggested the transfer of "real powers" to towns and cities was essential to rebalance the economy and stop the output gap between London and the rest of the country widening.

"We need a prosperous London but we also need to build prosperity outside it," he said.

"Today, every region outside London is below the national average when it comes to productivity, while London is 40% above it."

"Britain will never tackle the cost-of-living crisis and create the new private sector jobs that are essential to doing so unless we break this pattern, reverse a century of centralisation, and change from an economy based on the success of one city to all of our country's great towns and cities."

The government has agreed to give new powers to eight of England's largest cities and is in process of negotiating City Deals with a further 20, based on fostering job creation, deregulation and business growth.

Ministers say they have followed through on the recommendations of a 2012 report by former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine which called for £49bn in resources to be transferred from Whitehall to the regions.

But Labour has accused the government of "ignoring" the report.

Katja Hall, chief policy director of the CBI employers' group, said: "The focus should be on getting Britain building to lay the essential foundations for growth - better roads, train links, more high-speed broadband and more housing.

"Local leaders also have a key role to play in mapping local skills shortages but employers should be in the driving seat when it comes to funding."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    "of the £2.6bn allocated through the Regional Growth Fund, only £492m had so far actually reached projects"

    Why is that particular snippet of information even surprising? The rest of the money probably went to pointless 'focus groups' and the like as well as to line the pockets of crooked politicians, businessmen and the various Quangos that have been set up. The whole system is broken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Get back to opening more job training centres, like in the good old days they actually put people in to retrain for future use. I became an HGV driver through this, although I moved into technology. Many people went into engineering in the 60's though training centres. Let's get real people real jobs trained by professionals. Let's do it, not talk about it, think about it, or dream.

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    For most people living in the 2nd tier cities, birmingham, manchester, edinburgh, we know how much our city council waste our money.
    To pretend giving them more money helps is ridiculous.
    So many tram projects everywhere I go, what is that all about?

    Cities need budget rather than more central funding.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    I'm from Edinburgh, take it from me... councils with power are not a good thing!

    Our lib dem council spent near a billion (after loan interest) on building trams, its caused huge disruption for 8 years, wasnt wanted by people of Ed, sent half the shops out of business due to no access to town centre and is valued at £200k per metre of track... and a bus follows its route every 10 min ¬_¬

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    We've heard all this before, but still the vast majority of spending goes on London. London already has an excellent underground system and mainline rail links, but it's still getting Billions spent on Crossrail and Thameslink schemes. Meanwhile Birmingham (the Second City!) practically has to beg for funding to extend its one tram route. The words mean NOTHING, we'll judge politicians on ACTIONS.


Comments 5 of 13


More UK Politics stories


Politics Live

    07:07: Funeral film BBC Radio 4

    The TV pictures of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral remain "compelling viewing" 50 years on, James Rowland from BBC Archive says. There was a "little bit of damage" on the original film and dirt that had to be cleaned off, he tells Radio 4's Today, prior to its rebroadcast on BBC Parliament today. He reflects on the fairly rudimentary camerawork used in 1965, compared to today's standards, remarking that the pictures seem "slightly twitchy".

    07:06: Churchill event timings

    Here are some of the 50th anniversary timings if you want to plan your day:

    • The Houses of Parliament will host a remembrance service and wreath-laying ceremony at 09:00 GMT
    • BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral, which runs for a little over four hours, at 09:15 GMT.
    • Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT as the Havengore repeats its 1965 journey from the Tower of London to Westminster
    • Westminster Abbey will host a ceremony from 18:00 GMT, with flowers laid at the green marble stone placed there in memorial to Churchill.
    06:58: Churchill anniversary
    The Havengore carrying Sir Winston Churchill's coffiin along the Thames

    A bit more about what's happening in London later to mark the 50th anniversary of the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey will both host remembrance services, and there'll be a ceremony recreating the flotilla which carried Churchill's coffin along the Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster Pier. Members of Churchill's family will travel along the Thames on the Havengore, which carried his coffin 50 years ago.

    06:51: 'Three parent baby law'
    Daily Telegraph

    And the Daily Telegraph's lead is on concern from the Church of England that legislation is being rushed through to allow children to be born with three genetic "parents". The technique - mitrochondrial DNA transfer - is being promoted as a way to combat a series of inherited medical conditions.

    06:45: 'Religious slaughter of animals'
    The Times

    Meanwhile, the Times leads on a big rise in the number of food animals slaughtered without stunning. The British Veterinary Association - which wants the practice banned from Britain - says the number of animals killed in this way has risen by 60%. The paper says this is because of campaigning by Muslims for traditional slaughter methods.

    06:41: 'Migrant voting power'
    The i

    Migration is the focus of the i newspaper. It says immigrants could decide the result in 70 marginal seats, and Conservatives fear "migrant voting power" could cost them the election.

    06:36: 'Gas bill rip-off'
    Daily Express

    It's a "gas bill rip-off" for the Daily Express, which says figures show the big six energy suppliers are enjoying bumper profits, as temperatures plummet. The paper says the big firms will pocket an extra £114 per household in the coming year.

    06:34: The newspapers
    The Guardian

    A quick look at what's making the headlines in the newspapers. Energy prices take a prominent place in a few, with the Guardian saying real take-home pay is less now than it was in 2001, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Men and young workers have noticed the greatest fall in spending power, the paper adds.

    06:28: Missed Newsnight and This Week?

    Don't worry if you weren't glued to your telly seven hours ago - you can catch up with the full editions of Question Time and This Week by clicking on the 'Live Coverage' tab on this page.

    06:24: Cameron tribute to Churchill
    Winston Churchill statue outside parliament

    Last night Downing Street released the text of the message on the wreath David Cameron will lay at the statue of Winston Churchill, which stands just outside the Commons chamber. The PM has written: "Britain was so incredibly fortunate that in our hour of greatest need there came forward one of our greatest ever statesmen. 50 years on the light has not dimmed. David Cameron."

    06:22: Churchill anniversary
    Richard Dimbleby Richard Dimbleby commentating on Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral for the BBC

    Fifty years to the day, BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of the UK's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. Introduced by Sir Winston's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, the historic broadcast runs for a little over four hours. Fourteen reels of film, complete with impeccable commentary by Richard Dimbleby, have been restored, joined and re-mastered. The showing starts at 09:15 GMT.

    06:20: Good morning Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to a fresh day's coverage of political developments ahead of the 7 May General Election - yes there's just 97 days to go now. You'll be able to listen or watch all the BBC's political output today on this page and we'll be bringing you all the best clips, quotes, analysis, reaction and breaking political news throughout the day. If you want to see what to expect, here's yesterday's campaign countdown.



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • The AmericansThe good guys?

    A US TV show examining the Cold War is offering a radical revision of history, writes Eric Kohn


  • A person wears a mask at the Vevcani Carnival in MacedoniaThe Travel Show Watch

    The masked Balkan carnival attracting thousands to the streets of Vevcani

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.