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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:42 pm on 24th March 2014.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Labour, Sheffield Central 8:42 pm, 24th March 2014

I do not know whether you, Madam Deputy Speaker, or other Members of the House caught the recent BBC programme “Mind the Gap”. It was not about the perils of travelling on the underground but the growing problem of our country’s two economies—the way in which London and the south-east is sucking economic activity away from the rest of country. Judging by their policies over the past four years, this Government clearly do not mind the gap; indeed, they have widened it. It is not just a north-south problem; it is London versus the rest. The Chancellor’s Budget fuels the gap.

Let us spend a moment looking at two-economies Britain under this Government. Public funding has been diverted from areas where it is needed most by their local government finance settlement, as highlighted by my right hon. Friend Hilary Benn. Regional development agencies were scrapped as soon as this Government got through the door.