Hull North MP Diana Johnson questions how much benefit Lord Heseltine's plans will have for Hull
CITY MP Diana Johnson has questioned how much Hull will actually benefit from being a pilot area for economic reforms being championed by Lord Heseltine.
The majority of the Tory peer and former deputy prime minister's recommendations for stimulating economic growth were backed by the Government earlier this week.
Along with Birmingham, the Hull and Humber region will be a pilot area to put many of his recommendations into practice.
But the Hull North MP said she was concerned proposed measures, such as devolved funding and decision-making, would take time to become reality.
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She claimed they would not make up for scrapping previous regeneration programmes in the city.
She said: "It's positive for Hull that most of Lord Heseltine's 89 proposals have been at least partly accepted by the Government.
"However, some of Lord Heseltine's recommendations, such as defending the interests of British innovators and entrepreneurs against foreign takeovers and strengthening the role of local chambers of commerce, have been rejected.
"There is also the wider problem that these plans mask the short-sighted decision in 2010 to abolish the regional development agencies and the huge cut in the investment backing regeneration in Hull and the north generally.
"There is a danger that the localism becomes more about devolving blame than devolving real power.
"Hull isn't getting the kind of powerful backing to lever in private sector investment that Lord Heseltine was given 30 years ago when he worked on regenerating London Docklands.
"This is regrettable because the loss of private sector jobs and the cuts to public services have hit Hull with disproportionate severity.
"The Government still lacks a wider plan for growth after nearly three years of a flat- lining economy."
Lord Haskins, chairman of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said the Government now had to deliver by proving the necessary financial backing to Lord Heseltine's vision of regional devolution.
He said: "We now look forward to finding out in the Government's spending review whether the funding available will match up with our ambitions."
Under the Heseltine plans, LEPs will be given new borrowing powers to help fund infrastructure projects.
The partnerships, which in the Humber include the region's four councils, are also set to receive additional core funding from Whitehall.
Lord Haskins said being one of the first LEPs to have published a strategic plan and submitting a City Deal bid had already given the region a headstart.
Chancellor George Osborne was expected to highlight the Heseltine's growth program- me in today's Budget speech.