Tory Total Confusion over One North East

The Tories' policy on Regional Development Agencies is in total confusion today after their Shadow Business Secretary directly contradicted his own Leader over the future of One North East.

 

In a visit to the region yesterday, Ken Clarke confirmed the Tories plans to axe the region’s successful Regional Development Agency. This despite repeated assurances from David Cameron that the Agency could continue its work.

 

Today, Labour’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Pat McFadden said:
 

"Ken Clarke has once again revealed that Tory plans to scrap support for regional business would be damaging. Clarke has specifically pledged to scrap a body that David Cameron has praised and specifically said he wants to stay in place.


 

The RDAs have done an important job in supporting business during the recession and they will play just as important a role in securing the recovery. To abolish them now would be bad for jobs and bad for business.”


 

This shows how little the Tories have changed - England's northern regions can't trust the Tories to back regional business and jobs."


Deputy Regional Minister for the North East, Roberta Blackman-Woods said;


“The Tories seem to be totally confused about their regional policy or don’t have a regional policy for the North East at all. A few days ago, David Cameron dismissed efforts to help regional economies as “regional stuff”. Ken Clarke’s comments just confirm that the Tories have no commitment to helping the North East face the economic challenges of the future.

One North East does a vital role in helping local business, supporting employment and preparing us for the economy of the future. Scrapping it will have a real impact on people’s jobs and businesses.

Labour is the only party dedicated to keeping the One North East and we will work with them to make sure new jobs keep coming to the region.”

 

ENDS


Notes:

 

·        Ken Clarke has said clearly that the Tories will scrap One North East:

"One North East in its present form will be replaced. We are going to replace them with local development agencies. What matters is what kind of business support you give, what kind of regeneration activity you have, you need local leadership for that."
Ken Clarke, Chroniclelive.co.uk, 08 April 2010
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/breaking-news/2010/04/08/kenneth-clarke-visits-tynemouth-to-boost-tory-bid-61634-26203983
 
·        But David Cameron has specifically said that One North East is "doing a good job" and that "it should stay":

“In areas like the North-East, where the RDA is popular and doing a good job, it should stay, but in other parts of the country, local authorities believe they could take on the role of the RDA and do it better.”
David Cameron, Northern Echo, 16 November 2007

 

“On regional development agencies, we think where they are popular they should remain - One NorthEast is popular and does a good job.”
David Cameron, Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 20 November 2007

 

·        And only two months ago, Cameron promised to let regions decide for themselves on whether or not to keep their RDA - a promise now withdrawn.

"But in terms of the development function, if an alternative can be brought forward and people would rather get rid of the RDA, that can happen, and if they would rather keep the RDA, that can happen. It's not there to have the same policy for every part of the country."
David Cameron, Birmingham Post (blogs), 13 February 2010
http://blogs.birminghampost.net/business/2010/02/tories-backtrack-on-rdas-camer.html