Gordon has used his first Commons speech of the new Parliament to say how the Government’s devolution plans must deliver for Blackpool and other coastal towns - not just big cities.
Under the last Government, Blackpool Council saw its funding cut by 40% and with the abolition of the North West RDA (Regional Development Agencies), Gordon said the Coalition did the town “no favours”. Gordon explained the new Tory Government now needed to show some “humility” to the situation.
Contributing to the Queens Speech debate, he said: “Blackpool has many hard-working small businesses and enterprises. But, like many other seaside towns, it is a town that continues to face great challenges in housing, low part-time pay, significant pockets of deprivation, health, education and a highly transient population.
“Rhetoric about a so-called northern powerhouse can seem very thin in a town such as Blackpool where we have endured funding cuts of nearly 40% over the past four years.
“This Government must tell us how their devolution plans will deliver not just for big cities but for the smaller towns and the seaside and coastal towns. We need strategies that do not create divisions amongst regions.”
Gordon, currently a Shadow Transport Minister and previously for Regional Growth, criticised the Chancellor George Osborne for trying to force Mayors on all local areas as the prize for Government devolving powers to them. He said it was like Henry Ford saying about his cars: “You can have any colour you want as long as it’s black.”
He added people’s aspirations in the 21st century were much “more complex” saying “local needs must be addressed by local communities”. “If we are to have sustainable growth, this Government will not be forgiven if they simply devolve money to cities.”
To read Gordon's speech in full go to http://www.gordon4blackpool.com/devolution_and_growth_across_britain .