Jeremy Corbyn slams Government’s devolution promise as a “cruel deception” as he unveils plans for the North

4th August, 2015 11:00 am

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised George Osborne’s devolution plans as a “cruel deception”, as he has unveils his public investment policies.

Jeremy Corbyn

The leadership contender is today beginning to outline his’ Vision for Britain 2020′ in Leeds, where he will explain what Britain would look like under his stewardship. Corbyn has explained that he would shift the base of the economy with new programmes to build affordable housing, create high-skilled jobs and apprenticeships, launch innovative methods of tackling climate change and take a new approach to foreign policy based on peace and social justice.

After consulting with Labour supporters from across the North of England Corbyn is launching a paper entitled ‘Northern Future’. Over 1,200 people responded to a call for contributions and this document will include quotes from many of these people, as well as explaining Corbyn’s approach to the issues affecting norther economies.

Corbyn says the Government’s devolution plans are “a cruel deception” as they’ll be accompanied by large-scale cuts. He argues for “new investment institutions, rooted in the Northern economy to ensure deep rooted regeneration”. He also criticises the government’s plans to push through elected mayors without having a referendum and calls for “an inclusive constitutional convention that can discuss the alternatives”.

In this paper Corbyn attacks cuts to the art budget and policies that have led to a decline in manufacturing. He will say transport investment, which currently favours the South of England, must be rebalanced.

The leadership contender will also note that Local Enterprise Partnerships  (LEPs) – which are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses – should not be centrally controlled by the Treasury. Corbyn argues LEPs ‘lack the scope, capacity and scale to tackle…problems free from central government diktat’. To combat this the Islington North MP says the UK must reindustrialise and “the North of England is the place to lead this”.

He also notes that more attention needs to be given to the “economic needs and contribution” of northern towns and rural areas. This include making sure bus services are fully funded – and giving greater local control over this – and prioritising superfast broadband.

Corbyn says his decision to consult widely on this plan is an example of his engaging leadership style:

“I was delighted to see the volume and detail of responses from the Labour Party members on the hugely important issue of growing our northern economies. The Northern Future paper includes my own ideas to show the direction I want to take as leader, along with a sample of the 1200 excellent contributions we received. There is a lack of faith in the Conservative’s Northern powerhouse agenda which combines powercuts for rail electrification with the devolution of crude cuts. Despite this, the need for reindustrialising the north of England and providing the investment and freedom to innovate and prioritise has never been stronger. There is an appetite for a real alternative and this important conversation has begun.”

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