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Observer II

Bribery and corruption ?

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A £1.6billion investment  fund for Towns in the North of England, is being hailed by the Labour Party, as a bribe to Labour MPs in LEAVE constituencies, to support Brexit.  Well, perhaps it is, but isn't it a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons ?    Despite the Barnet Formula,  London and the S/East has monopolised Gov spending for decades, when the North suffered de-industrialisation in the 60s,. and more recently the consequences to Council funding of austerity.   Despite being in Gov for large chunks of this period,  Labour did nothing of substance to reverse the gravitation of wealth to the Capital and disperse wealth to the provinces.  Then we recently had Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse"  half baked attempt to kick start the economy of the North with private initiatives written on the back of an envelope, when what is needed is massive infrastructure investment by HMG.  The question is, of course, will it be enough and will it be invested in a coordinated fashion to boost the economies on a regional basis, or will it be left to Local Authorities to spend on myopic, knee jerk schemes for local kudos ?    Hate to admit it, but there was a time, when the EU invested in Regional Aid, but Thatcher had it paid into the Treasury, rather than it being allocated to Regional Government, as there was no such thing as Regional Government; which then begs the question, should England have a Regional tier of Government, as per the Welsh,Scottish and Irish Parliaments, to administer a dispersal of the Nation's wealth to the poorest areas of the Country ?

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Do you have any links to where you get your information for European Regional aid?

One point - Thatcher had long been removed from Government when the EU was established, if you're talking about EU regional Aid. Also what were/are the European/EU rules for the distribution of Regional Aid? I doubt that a bureaucracy as rule bound as the EU hands out funds willy-nilly with no rules as to how they should be used.

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Thatcher was well and truly involve with the EU Asp;  you'll recall she got the "rebate" out of them, but I think we gave them some fishing rights in return.  The regional aid was supposedly targeted at the poorest regions in the UK, I think Liverpool received some, but it was administered centrally by the Treasury, so whether they got their intended quota is questionable.   As for the due diligence of the EU in such matters;  in the home village of Orban (the Hungarian PM),  EU monies were used to build a 6 mile railway (only used in the Summer) and a football stadium next to his old house (he likes football);  so I guess the EU isn't really on the ball when it comes to accounting for their spend; hence they haven't had their books signed off by audit in over a decade !

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Obs, The money went to the Treasury but it was first controlled by the Government Regional Offices, then the Regional Development Agencies and finally, and currently, the LEPs. Money could usually only go Objective 1 and 2 areas. Liverpool was Objective 1, I think former mining areas got 2. Later there were other targets; for example the useless bus lane on Sankey Way was paid for by ERDF transport funding, When the deadline passed for returning the money it turned into just another lane, the council knew full well it could never work properly as a bus lane but wanted the money. The money was administered by the Treasury but it was allocated to departments such as the DoE (I think) for spending at the NWDA etc. A conspiracy theory too far methinks. The Treasury is not a spending department, it just shuffles money about and controls the bank account. It needed to spend the money from the EU to show how useful it was but wanted it accounted for properly so the kind of complaint to level at Orban could not be substantiated here.

Asp is correct, The European Union was created to replace the European Economic Community by the Treaty of Maastricht, negotiated by John Major. The Regional Development Fund was established in 1975 at the insistence of Britain as a means of getting something back for our excessive contributions. That preceded the UK budget rebate won by Mrs Thatcher by 10 years, but the ERDF was negotiated by Heath and finally obtained by Wilson.

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Thanks Confused, I think the point I was trying to make to Obs that the EU was established 3 years after Thatcher ceased to be PM didn't meet with his "Thatcher is to blame for everything that's wrong with the world today" mantra.

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I certainly don't "blame" Thatcher for "everything"; in fact, her style would no doubt have been an asset in these Brexit negotiations !   As for the EEC - EU, I'm just not differentiating, as, to me, it's the same animal. As for the issue of Regional Aid actually getting to it's intended destination, I think that's a question of belief - whether you believe Tories would tolerate funding to Labour Areas and not to their own; as demonstrated by the latest criticisms of this latest funding scheme, from Tory MPs; which just proves the sad nature of our partisan politics, which puts Party before everything else.

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But we are led to believe that this money will be targeting traditional Labour voters ,a gift from the benevolent Tories.

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Neither of the above the fund FAQ make it clear that the distribution is based on a form of relative needs formula distribution that with involve the Index of Multiple Deprivation. It is not based on the outcome of any election. Some politicians can't stop themselves making things up even when the truth is in the public domain. Oh and bribes work best if you don't pay until after the deed has been performed!

However the horrible truth which Warrington BC will try and make the governments fault is that the town is not very deprived and is not high up on the IMD scale so we probably won't get much, unless they fudge it to pay for the Western Link!!!

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Think your correct there Con;  there's no planning or evidence based analysis behind this, and no system for rational delivery, and the amount is pitiful in any case. Perhaps if we went for "no deal" they'd have £53billion to spend !    Think WBC went through an exercise in analysing areas of deprivation, almost down to post codes; in order to allocate the spending of a windfall receipt; alas it was watered down by personal political egos and politics, and we finished up with the skittles in Town !   Such initiatives may succeed if politicians are kept well out of any involvement.

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19 hours ago, Observer II said:

I certainly don't "blame" Thatcher for "everything";

You do a very good job of disguising it 🤣🤣🤣

  • Haha 1

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