Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (26th June 2013) branded George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review as an announcement which both highlighted the level of government failure over the past three years and ‘snubbed’ the North East and its demand for greater regional investment.
“To applause two years ago, George Osborne said: ‘We have already asked the British people for what is needed, and we do not need to ask for more’ yet today Osborne has again come back and asked for more sacrifice from the British people.
“Local people will be asking why, after three years of cuts to the police, cuts to defence budgets, and cuts to local services all we are offered is more of the same? The answer is simple – George Osborne’s comprehensive failure on living standards, growth and on the deficit too.
“This spending review only adds misery on to misery. From the time of his first spending projections in October 2010 things have only got worse. Unemployment in the North East stands at over 130,000 and many more working for reduced wages or who have been forced into under-employment and short time working. It is telling that this announcement comes on the same day as the final set of 500 workers made redundant at the Thornaby offices of First Direct leave the offices for the last time.
“The Chancellor’s statement also exposed the hollowness of the Government claim to be aiding regional regeneration. Weeks after the Chancellor said he would agree to the spending suggestions for regions like the North East by Lord Heseltine we see a full scale retreat. Lord Heseltine said £49 billion was needed for a regional growth fund. Today we were offered a rather pathetic looking £2bn. If you live in London or the South East, things are different. It seems that the North East can go begging, but Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson can boast a cash boost of £9 Billion for the Crossrail 2 scheme – a scheme that will benefit the North East not a jot.
“This is a spending review which has been born of failure. For my part, I and my Labour colleagues will continue to fight for what this area needs – investment and new jobs. Local people deserve nothing less.”