The hon. Gentleman knows that it does count as Government borrowing in this country, which constrains this Government as it did the previous Government. Being a fair man he will be the first to acknowledge that the work I have been doing with our eight core cities has found innovative ways through tax increment financing and other schemes to invest in infrastructure in anticipation of some of the revenues associated with that. We are doing everything we can and have had some success in being creative in that regard.
As Europe and the developing world streaked ahead, the gulf in this country between London and the north widened under Labour. Only one of the eight largest cities outside London has an income per head that is above the country’s national average, which is in marked contrast to the norm on the continent of Europe. Seven out of the eight biggest German cities outside Berlin, and six out of the eight biggest cities in Italy, have an income per head that is above the national average. In France, that is true for half the largest cities, and for the others the figure is close to the national average. In other countries around Europe and the world, great cities outside the capital are motors of growth and drive the local economy. In this country, the legacy of 13 years of Labour is that the gulf with the north and in our cities across the country has widened and is a source of shame.