“Under this government, London and Whitehall now seem very far away from this region.” – McKinnell

Catherine McKinnellResponding to today’s announcement by Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, that he is scrapping Government Offices for the North East, Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North said;

 

“Under this Government, London and Whitehall seem very far away from this region. The Tory-Lib Dem decision to close the Government Office for the North East is just another demonstration of their lack of commitment to this area.

 

They have scrapped our successful Regional Development Agency taking powers back to London. They have axed the Regional Minster post and of course not a single Government Minister represents a constituency in this region.

 

You really do fear for this region’s future under this Government when it is clear they aren’t interested in listening to the views of people in the North East.”

 

“The decision to close the Government Office will damage the prospects for investment in this region. This is very worrying and proves that our warnings about David Cameron’s plans for the North East before the election were spot-on”

 

John Denham, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:


“The decision leaves English regions without any way of co-ordinating economic development, major infrastructure projects and the effective co-ordination of public services for local people. It is a decision being made under the guise of ‘localism’ but it will see a huge centralisation of power into Whitehall Ministries.


 “In government we laid out proposals in our budget in March for making significant savings in regional government but retaining the crucial role of effective co-ordination of programmes which supports growth and jobs. What we now seen with the abolishing of the Government Offices along with RDAs is the abandonment of much of England to Whitehall power.” 


“Without the Government Offices and RDAs business will not have a first point of call across Whitehall and regional areas. And who is going to advise government about cross regional issues to shape investment decisions like the European funding programmes or even the Government’s new Regional Growth Fund. They will have no-one to consult with on different, possibly competing bids. This will lead to poorer decision making with those decisions being made at Eric Pickles’s desk.”


ENDS