Labour’s Shadow Chancellor will today set out plans to introduce new “Barnett formula for the North”, as he argues the region should not have to pay the price of a “failed Tory Brexit”.
Speaking at the launch of Labour’s new regional economic conferences, John McDonnell will present his reforms as a solution to the “years of neglect” suffered by areas like Yorkshire under Conservative rule.
His proposals will include placing a new legal duty on future Governments that would force ministers to spread investment more evenly across the country.
But he will also set out his challenge the broader “Whitehall view” that “what’s good for the City of London is good for the country as a whole”.
“At present, this Tory government plans to invest less than half the amount per head in the North that London receives,” Mr McDonnell will say.
“The Crossrail transport link alone is due to cost four times the entire public investment budget for Yorkshire, or six and half times that for the North East.
“We can’t, as a country, face the world after Brexit if we are not all able to pull together.
“It’s time for the rest of the country to get a look in.
“So I can pledge this now: the next Labour government will put in place the mechanisms needed to close that gap in funding.
“We will make sure that no government can ever again bias its own investment plans so heavily against the majority of the country.
“We’ll introduce legislation to make sure future governments will be charged with auditing their regional capital spend against economic need, and reporting to Parliament when the investment imbalances are excessive.
“It’ll be like a Barnett formula for the North.