Victory for Heseltine as Government backs his growth plan

 

A plan to devolve greater decision-making and spending controls to the country's regions in a bid to boost jobs has received government backing.

Nearly all of the changes recommended by Tory peer Lord Heseltine in his report No Stone Unturned, published last year, are to be taken up, the Government announced today.

Lord Heseltine had called for the Government to slash red tape and hand back decision-making powers to Britain's major cities giving them greater say over matters including transport, housing, and vocational training.

He said for too long Whitehall departments and civil servants had "stifled" growth outside London.

The Government is accepting 81 of Lord Heseltine's 89 recommendations in part or in full.

The recommendations directly benefit England's 39 business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), delivering them an immediate funding boost worth £500,000 over the next two years to be spent on drafting plans on how best to create economic growth.

The Government will create a single pot of money, in 2015, which the LEPs' will bid from and spend on projects of their choice.

That money will come from capital cash currently allocated to departmental budgets and European Union funding, although the exact amount will not be known until 2014.

In return for the granting of greater financial control, the Government will make LEPs set out their long-term plans in Local Growth Deals.

The Government has also backed Lord Heseltine's suggestions for closer working between councils, civil servants, business leaders, schools and universities.

Not all the recommendations were accepted, with Lord Heseltine's call for the Government to "clarify urgently" its position on increasing airport capacity in the South East rejected.

Chancellor George Osborne said Lord Heseltine was able to "challenge received wisdom and give us bold ideas on how to bring government and industry together".

"That is why we are backing him today," he said.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The plans will boost the UK's competitiveness".

He added there would also be further support for key industries, including the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Lord Heseltine's report had set out "the best way" to boost regional growth.

"It's a big change from the hand-out attitude of the past that stifled innovation and turned the regions into powerless centres that relied on Whitehall for jobs and spending," he said.

Lord Heseltine said the decision to accept the most of his recommendations would allow England's regions to "share in the rewards" of higher employment and greater prosperity if they could develop good enough economic strategies.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "Today's response reinforces the local approach the Government is taking to grow the economy. Jobs are created in offices, on high streets and in industrial parks around the country, not in Whitehall.

"We are giving more power than ever before to Local Enterprise partnerships and councils to drive growth in ways that best suit their local economy, not through diktats from central government bureaucrats.

"This is also a challenge to councils to innovate, to come together and pool resources and functions, to better deliver economic development across their area."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas