No ‘quick fix’ for Humber economy - Lord Heseltine

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LORD Heseltine has warned there are no short term answers to the challenges facing Hull and the Humber as he prepares to start work in the area which should see tens of millions of pounds of Government funding placed in local control.

The Tory Peer also criticised the failure of all parts of the area to work together in the past, warning he would not be “pandering to each local pressure group”.

He was speaking after it was confirmed he Humber will be a pathfinder for the devolution of powers and funding Lord Heseltine set out in a report last year which he believes is the key to unlocking regional growth.

Lord Heseltine said: “What I have is a belief there’s an energy and a talent in the major local economies which is not harnessed to its full effect, There are a lot of talented men and women out there who, given their head, would use money and take better decisions than just leaving it to officials in London.”

The former Cabinet minister will work with the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership on a plan to kickstart the local economy. It could eventually see decisions involving up to £150m in Government spending taken locally.

Lord Heseltine said: “The problems are long term and deep seated. This is all about looking at all the strengths and opportunities and working together, the public and private sector, to build on the strengths that exist, find some more, and eliminate the things that are not so good. We have to face up to it that things have not gone as well as they shouldand we have got to be honest about why not.”

In the Commons, Hull North MP Diana Johnson yesterday raised the issue of whether LEPS need more to make the necessary impact in cities such as her own.