Lord Heseltine 'will put Hull ahead of the game' on economy and jobs
HULL is set to be "ahead of the game" after confirmation Lord Heseltine will personally oversee a new plan for economic growth.
As exclusively revealed on the Mail's website yesterday, the former deputy prime minister will spearhead a wide-ranging review of economic development issues in the area.
He will spend three months working with the region's four councils and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) after accepting an invitation from chairman Lord Haskins.
At the same time, he will carry out a similar role in Birmingham.
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Cities Minister Greg Clark confirmed the move during a visit to Hull to give feedback on a proposed bid for City Deal status for the Hull and Humber region.
It is expected Lord Heseltine's work will dovetail with initiatives in the bid aimed at securing more devolved powers from Whitehall to help create new jobs and investment.
Mr Clark said: "I am delighted Lord Heseltine has accepted the invitation to come and work here.
"He will bring a wealth of experience to the job and I know he is tremendously looking forward to it.
"His recent report on economic growth was a very important piece of work and he is very keen to see some of the ideas in that report being turned into action.
"The fact he is only working in two areas – Hull and the Humber and Birmingham – means they will be ahead of the game when it comes to devolved decision-making and funding."
Mr Clark, who met local authority leaders and MPs from around the Humber, also played down claims of a fall-out between the councils in Hull and Grimsby.
Former city council leader Colin Inglis and North East Lincolnshire Council leader Chris Shaw exchanged verbal blows this week over the issue.
But Mr Clark said: "From what I have seen, those issues have been resolved and the councils are working well together."
Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson welcomed the intervention of Lord Heseltine.
He said: "This is excellent news for Hull because it will put us at the very forefront of the agenda when it comes to new ways of delivering economic growth.
"Lord Heseltine's report talked about there being too much Government interference and central control over what should be local issues and made a number of sensible recommendations to put that right.
"Hopefully we will be able to turn some of those recommendations into reality for the benefit of Hull and the region's economy."
The City Deal bid is due to be submitted to the Government next week.
It aims to build on the potential of the Humber estuary as a key area for investment in the renewable energy sector.