Initial dismay at Review turns to positive news

Cllr Steven Bridgett, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP and Sir Alan Beith MP in rural Northumberland Rothbury.
Cllr Steven Bridgett, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP and Sir Alan Beith MP in rural Northumberland Rothbury.

The NEvolution campaign saw a mixed bag of results as the disappointment of the Spending Review was followed by good news in the announcement of future investment.

Initially, there was dismay as Chancellor George Osborne failed to give the region a greater say over its economic destiny.

He ignored Lord Heseltine’s call to pump £49billion of regeneration into the UK’s regions through Local Enterprise Partnerships (Leps). Instead, the Leps will get £2billion in 2015.

The following day, however, Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander said the Leps would have ‘at least £20billion under their control by 2020’.

He also revealed major spending on the region’s roads as part of a wider infrastructure announcement.

There was also further investment announced for the Regional Growth Fund.

Mr Alexander said that the £2.4billion spent in this Parliament was safeguarding 500,000 jobs across every English region. He revealed the fund would get an extra £600million.

Further announcements which could affect the region included an additional £800million to go to the Green Investment Bank, aimed at helping renewable energy generation. The Green Bank can also borrow up to half-a-billion pounds from the Government in 2015-16.

And Mr Alexander also announced a further £250million to ensure superfast broadband – fixed, wireless or 4G – will reach 99 per cent of the UK by 2018.

Special mention was given to the superfast broadband project in Rothbury.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick and campaign director for Broadband 4 Northumberland, said: “This is great news and will help us ensure Northumberland is not left behind in the digital revolution. I am glad that our Broadband4Northumberland campaigning is being heard, but we still need to ensure that none of our small rural villages are left out.”