Prime Minister Gordon Brown has leapt to the defence of regional development agencies (RDAs), accusing Conservatives leader David Cameron of “declaring war” on the North.
The prime minister claimed that the Conservatives “don’t understand the needs of the people in the North”.
His remarks refer to the Conservatives’ well-publicised desire to scrap regional development agencies (RDAs) should they succeed at this year’s general election, as part of a wider blitz on public bodies.
Brown said Conservative reform of RDAs would have a ‘devastating’ impact on the provision of funds and business development across the UK.
“I think that the Conservative plan to cut regional development agencies is really a declaration of war on the North because it is so important for people in the North,”said Brown.
“I think the Conservative policy to abolish the North East development agency is a recognition that they don’t understand the needs of people in the North and they don’t understand how important the development agency is.
‘It’s made worse by the fact they want to keep the London development agency because they have a Conservative Mayor of London, but they don’t want to keep any of the agencies in the regions.”
Brown said the success of RDAs is illustrated by the high investment returns that they generate, turning every £1 of investment into £5 of new money.