Cable expresses doubts on policies
8:42pm Wednesday 30th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Business Secretary Vince Cable has questioned his own Government's regional policies - dubbing the new system "messy" and expressing doubts about its sustainability.
The senior Liberal Democrat said he was not convinced the replacement of regional development agencies (RDA) with local enterprise partnerships (LEP) and the "City Deal" project, championed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, had proved a success.
Asked about the disruption caused to long-term policy by changes of government in Westminster, he said he was confident that work on developing individual sectors of industry had cross-party support and would be maintained if the coalition lost power.
But he said that spatial policy had been " seriously disrupted" and could be again.
"We made a decision to get rid of the RDAs - there were plusses and minuses: some people argued for a more gradualist approach, others for a Maoist approach, and we got the latter," he told an event organised by the Institute for Government.
"We have been trying to create, from scratch, a full new institutional framework. The LEPs, and then superimposed on that City Deals, and it feels a bit messy actually.
"I'm not sure we've got it right and, equally, I'm not sure how much buy-in there is elsewhere from other parties.
"So a lot of the industrial strategy is now durable but there is that one area where there has been great disruption."
Britain seemed incapable of devising a set-up to match the successful federal system used by Germany since the Second World War, he said.
"We have never been able to decide in the UK how to organise ourselves geographically and that is very disruptive."