NORTHERN cities should not be allowed to “go to hell”, according to Lord Heseltine.
The Tory grandee, who has chaired the Government’s £2.8bn regional growth fund, told the Sunday Telegraph that the Government’s plans to create a Northern powerhouse would help to rebalance the UK’s economy, without threatening London’s supremacy.
Lord Heseltine told the paper: “It’s very simple. If you eat, live and breathe, and are elected by a local community, you know its problems, you know its strengths, you know its people, and you can draw them all together on a regular basis in order to build the greatest good locally..”
Lord Heseltine described the idea that some cities should be left to decline as a form of “stereotyped centralism”.
He added: “We need to let the people of Hull have the power to make their own decisions. Help them, yes, but don’t try to write them off or tell them that they can only succeed if they can be part of a greater complex. There is no coherent argument for allowing these cities to just go to hell.”
Earlier this year, Lord Heseltine warned that Leeds will remain in the second tier with regards to devolution unless it copies Manchester’s metro mayor model. He spoke of the risks facing Leeds, as West Yorkshire council chiefs continued to rule out a scheme in which they work together under a new elected leader.
Speaking in March, Lord Heseltine said: “Manchester is ahead of the game..and they are ahead of the game because they have addressed the fundamental management challenges of how you create a credible and accountable framework to bear the additional responsibilities.”