CAMERON’S SNUB TO THE REGIONS IS AN INSULT TO THE NORTH EAST- LORD MANDELSON

DAVID CAMERON today revealed that he is the “heir to Thatcher” by letting slip that the Conservatives would withdraw the vital support Labour is giving to businesses and families in the North East.

Admitting that he could not fill a £22 billion black hole in the Tories’ spending plans, Mr Cameron dismissively told the BBC that he would make cuts by getting rid of “all the regional stuff”.

Sweeping away One North East, our Regional Development Agency, would put at risk the recovery in the North East and threaten jobs and investment.  For every £1 the RDAs spend, around £4.50 is put back into their region's economy.

Labour’s Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said:

“While David Cameron is looking down his nose at the regions, or holding his nose, he is talking about people’s jobs, he is talking about people’s living standards and he is talking about their kids’ futures.

“Now he may not regard these people in the regions, as he calls them, as worthy of government support.  But our view is that they should not be forced to do without government support, not if we want to create a balanced economy in this country and if we want everyone to have the chance to share in the proceeds of growth.”

Nick Brown MP, Labour's Minister for North East said:
 
“David Cameron’s gaffe revealed that the he wants a return to the failed Tory policies that destroyed jobs and industry in the North East under Mrs Thatcher.
 
“The strategic investment decisions and support for local businesses taken by One North East are important for our region’s economic recovery. Business leaders, whatever their political affiliations, support One North East.”

Ends

Notes for Editors:

• David Cameron told the R4 Today Programme:
“I do accept, as I said in the previous answer I do accept that what we’re  proposing is still not enough to fill the hole, I do accept that and I think you have to be frank about that but what I would argue is that from opposition as well as saying here’s what we can do in the first year and here are the figures for what we’re going to do in the first year, as well as setting out the tough choices that I’ve set out on this programme and as well as saying there’s a whole range of things the state currently does that we don’t want it to do, like ID cards, like all the regional stuff that we won’t…like the Contact Point database that we won’t do, as well as all those things there’s still more to be done.”

• Lord Mandelson, Labour Party press conference, 1 April 2010
“Talking about Mrs Thatcher by the way, and I commend David Cameron’s interview on the Today programme to you all, it’s essential reading, I heard very strong echoes of Mrs Thatcher in what he had to say this morning when he was talking about what we don’t want the state to do, he referred to benefits and ‘all the regional stuff’. Well while David Cameron is looking down his nose at the regions, or holding his nose, he is talking about people’s jobs, he is talking about people’s jobs, he is talking about people’s living standards and he is talking about their kids’ futures. Now he may not regard these people in the regions, as he calls them, as worthy of government support. But our view is that they should not be forced to do without government support, not if we want to create a balanced economy in this country and if we want everyone to have the chance to share in the proceeds of growth.”

• Regional Development Agencies proved their value during the recession, implementing an Action Plan that produced an additional £125 million of funding for small firms and bringing forward £100 million to support regeneration.

• Labour will maintain our support for RDAs and give them a fresh mandate to help rural communities and businesses access the next generation of superfast broadband. And we will ensure that they continue to provide value for money - for every £1 the RDAs spend, around £4.50 is put back into their region's economy.