Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McDonnell: We'll Transform the North - and Do It from the North

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McDonnell: We'll Transform the North - and Do It from the North

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor

LABOUR shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is to meet North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll to discuss plans for a PS250bn fund to reduce regional inequalities.

Mr McDonnell has revealed more details about a planned National Transformation Fund, to invest in infrastructure such as transport, energy systems, communications, scientific research and housing, overseen by a new Treasury office in the North of England. He said: "I'm meeting with all the mayors and we're going to be asking them what sort of structures they think is best both in terms of their individual decision-making - so when they bid for resources, not just bidding for individual projects but pots of money as well - but also how they think it's best to coordinate across the North.

"It isn't just relocating the unit, it's relocating decision making as well."

And explaining his plans to put the fund's headquarters in the North, he said: "If we're going to address regional inequalities, the National Transformation Fund is one of the big vehicles for doing that.

"Large amounts of that money will go to the North, so therefore, the best thing to do is to put the administrators in the North."

It's understood that the North East is one of the regions earmarked for investment.

Labour has plans for two major investment programmes, spending a total of PS500bn over 10 years. The National Transformation Fund will invest in infrastructure, while another PS250bn will be available over 10 years in lending for businesses, especially smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and organisations providing "socially valuable services".

This will be overseen by a new National Investment bank based in Birmingham, supported by regional investment banks across the country.

Both funds would have a policy of providing money where the need is greatest - as opposed to the traditional Treasury approach of providing money where the economic return is expected to be greatest. …

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