Heseltine Calls On Govt To Stimulate Economy

Michael Heseltine has called on the government to take action to stimulate the economy.

The former deputy Conservative prime minister is quoted in a new report commissioned by Downing Street as saying the UK "does not have a strategy for growth and wealth creation".

Lord Heseltine said he wants funds to be distributed locally, rather than through central government.

Ed Millibad taunted the PM in the Commons with the report, saying it was "a damning indictment" of the government.

The review makes 89 recommendations to help industry, one of which is moving £49bn to the regions to help local leaders and businesses.

Lord Heseltine said devolving power from Whitehall would re-invigorate the big cities and fuel growth and wealth.

But he said the government should also show leadership in promoting major infrastructure projects.

"Central government must retain control of important, large scale infrastructure projects. This includes our motorway network, national rail network and airports, as well as our energy networks," Lord Heseltine said.

Chancellor George Osborne replied by saying he would "study it very carefully".

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna compared aspects of the report with Labour’s own industrial policy.

"Labour has led calls for an active government approach to support business and underpin regional growth - it is good to see Lord Heseltine echoing this in his report. We will examine his proposals and consider which ones we can take forward," he said.

"We hope that ministers will take Lord Heseltine's proposals seriously."

Lord Heseltine will formally launch his report later today.


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