Cameron's admission on North East cuts has derailed the Tories campaign in the region.

Labour has today stepped up its attack on the admission by Tory leader David Cameron that the Conservative government would target the North East for public spending cuts.


During an interview on Friday evening with the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman the Tory leader claimed that investment in the regions was unsustainable and public spending was ‘far too big’ in the areas of the country that need the most support. But he refused to say exactly where the axe would fall.


Approximately 266,000 people in the North East region work in the public sector and it spends £3.45bn in the regions’ economy, much of which goes directly to businesses in the region.


Labour’s Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said:


"Last week, David Cameron said that the government had "run out of money" and that's why we need a "big society". In other words, the government's out of it and "society" should make do without government by its side. His interview with Jeremy Paxman gave us a further glimpse of a Tory future. Those regions outside the south east would have to make do with less government support and investment. 


“Let's be clear what this means. Scrapping the business-led Regional Development Agencies that bring investment and jobs to the regions. Scrapping Labour's innovation and venture capital funds working in the regions. Scaling back the regional skills programmes.


“David Cameron describes all this as "regional stuff" and says it needs to be swept away. So, it's not just the North East that should beware, as Mr Cameron made clear in his Paxman interview.


The Tories don't believe in government support for the regions, just as they think DIY is the future for public services. This is not "big society", it is a recipe for a divided, fragmented society, fine for those that are already doing well but very threatening for those who need government at their side".


Commenting on the Tory leader’s admission Vera Baird QC, Labour’s Deputy Minister for the North East said:


“David Cameron has let the cat out of the bag about what he really thinks about the public services we all rely on here in the North East.


”The interview with Jeremy Paxman showed a rare glimpse of honesty from the Conservatives and an admission that, if they win the election on 6 May, they would pull support from this region.


“This latest admission comes on top of the Tories commitment to scrap the help and support Labour has provided for local businesses and our economy through One North East.


“While Labour has guaranteed to protect frontline investment in our policing, schools, childcare and the NHS the Tories’ plans would damage these vital public services and cost this region jobs.


“Only by voting Labour can you ensure that the North East isn’t forgotten when it comes to decisions taken in the coming years. The Tories would stand aside and abandon regions like the North East. A Tory future would be a bleak one. This admission by Cameron has completely derailed the Tory campaign in the North East.”



Notes to Editors

• The Tories would scrap business-led Regional Development Agencies
”We will give councils and businesses the power to form their own business-led local enterprise partnerships instead of RDAs” (Conservative manifesto 2010, p24)