New figures have revealed that 95 per cent of the infrastructure spending planned for Great Britain is going into London.
It is as if all roads must lead to London, with new rail links currently being built in every direction across the City. This obsession with London is one I have exposed regularly and this astonishing new analysis confirms exactly what I have been warning over many years, including in this column.
It is course unfair. Why should London get all the new investment, but it is also economically inefficient. In America, China and Germany they see growth as coming from booming cities across the whole country. Here we overheat the economy in London, creating ridiculous house prices and we spend far too little elsewhere. This has to change.
When we argued for and won money for new schools, for health centres and hospital buildings, for a new airport and removing the roundabouts on the A1 we improved our local infrastructure enormously. It provided a big boost to local industry, for example knocking 10 minutes of every round journey on the A1 is good for business because and time means money. It provided a higher quality NHS, saving lives and keeping our population healthier. It opened up greater opportunities for our children, which schools have excelled in meeting.
But for the economy it is even more than this. These major infrastructure projects put construction workers into work and they fed the supply chain of manufacturers across our area. One incredible reality at the moment is that bricks are hard to get hold of because so many brick making companies have gone out of business in the banking recession. Those people in work spend money in the local economy and that money circulates around our small businesses. It is how the real economy works. And currently we have no major infrastructure spending in Bassetlaw, and virtually nothing outside of London.
We fought for and won the money for a new Serlby Park school and for a new bridge at Elkesley. But the Government has delayed on releasing the money. Since the coalition came in not a single Government expenditure programme has begun in Bassetlaw and nothing in the areas around our borders either. Everything has gone to London, from Kings Cross, to Docklands to Heathrow and many more. It is time that the Government listened to the Governor of the Bank of England, who this week, in my questioning of him, agreed that the current imbalance was damaging the national economy and needed to be changed.
The Government has announced major cuts this week. I will need to look at the precise detail to see how it impacts on us, but without question it will cause huge problems for police, fire and health services, it will lead to major council cuts and it looks like the army and elderly social care will be particularly brutally hit.
It is clear to me that towns like Worksop and Retford are being expected now to have no court, no real police station, reduced fire cover, no tax office, and that market towns and former mining communities are being hit harder than elsewhere. Perhaps our media might choose to spend time investigating what the impact of these cuts are on real, local people. These are the big issues that face us and lots of people need to have their personal story telling so that the world can see what is happening. For the first time in 12 years as your MP I have real fears about what families will face in the future and in particular how those with young children , the disabled and the elderly in poor health and needing social care will cope.