‘Sounds like politics as usual’ Marr grills Lisa Nandy over Labour’s attack on 2020 budget
The Labour leadership candidate claimed Boris Johnson’s Government is failing to deliver on its promise to create a level-playing field to decrease the south-north divide in the UK. She said: “They haven’t done it. We’ve had a review, after review, after review. And we’ve got to do better than this. They won an election in December, promising to turn the situation around.
“So we’re going to hold them to account for it.”
But BBC’s Andrew Marr was prompt to correct the Labour MP as he pointed out: “They’re moving parts of the Treasury to the north.
“There’s a £1.8 billion devolution deal for West Yorkshire.
“And they say they’re borrowing £600 billion for investment.
“So they are doing something. It’s beginning to sound a little bit like politics as usual, if I may say so.”
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To which Lisa Nandy replied: “I want to see them actually deliver.
“And when they do announce investments they’re very much welcome. But if you look at the small print behind the money that is going city devolution deals across the country, the Treasury has already decided how much of that money is going to be spent.
“So whilst they’re talking about getting investments into the north, the Midlands, north Wales and parts of the country that haven’t seen it for a long time, this is a power grab from Whitehall.
“And there is a reason that ‘take back control’ resonated in areas like mine, like no other slogan in my lifetime, because people want real power to make those decisions themselves.”
But he announced plans to review the constraints that are likely to mean they are relaxed in the future.
By 2024 day-to-day spending on public services will be £100 billion higher in cash terms than it is today.
And the splurge on capital spending – cash for major infrastructure projects – is triple average amounts invested in the last 40 years.
Critics hit out at the high spending levels but Treasury sources insisted the money was being tightly targeted to transform the economy and deliver on the promises made to voters in the manifesto.
The Government is also taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow on favourable terms.
In his first budget just four weeks after taking the job, Mr Sunak said the “biggest programme of public investment ever” included £27 billion for roads, £2.5 billion for potholes, new railways and stations and £5 billion for broadband.
Published at Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:01:00 +0000