The TUC has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will adopt most of Tory former deputy prime minister Heseltine’s plans for the privatisation of regional services.
Heseltine’s report – No Stone Unturned – which was published last November, advocates the setting up of Local Enterprise Partnerships to decide the allocation of central funding to projects, including those bidding to take over the provision of public services.
The Treasury said it had accepted 81 of his proposals, rejected five – and will look further at the remaining three during the forthcoming Spending Review.’
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: ‘We have grasped the challenge that Lord Heseltine’s report posed to government and accepted the vast majority of his recommendations.’
For Labour, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: ‘Lord Heseltine’s approach of devolving economic power and giving local areas the resources and tools to drive growth is welcome.’
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We welcome the acceptance of Lord Heseltine’s recommendation for a national growth strategy, with targets to which it can be held to account.
‘Hopefully we are seeing the beginnings of a new co-ordinated approach to industry across government to generate much-needed growth in the economy and establish a secure future for UK manufacturing.
‘A single pot of money to help drive growth across the UK that will be managed by a network of local enterprise partnerships will help focus much-needed investment in the regions.
‘Similarly, the establishment of ten sector councils along the lines of the current automotive council suggests that ministers understand that our industrial sector can only succeed with the active involvement of government.
‘But on all of these bodies – including the local enterprise partnerships – the government needs to recognise the importance of places on them for unions.’
Dave Wiltshire, National Secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance, said: ‘The TUC is collaborating with the Tories and Heseltine, the man who shut down the mining industry, when everything is being attacked by them – benefits and everything!
‘This unholy alliance is the preparation for a national government and must be condemned and fought by every trade unionist.’