Spending Review: 6 politicians tell us how they'd manage £4 trillion of Government money

Top l-r: MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Jane Collins, Labour MP for Leeds East Richard Burgon, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith.'Bottom l-r: Yorkshire First leader Richard Carter, Green Party councillor Andrew Cooper, Lib Dem MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland.
Top l-r: MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Jane Collins, Labour MP for Leeds East Richard Burgon, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith.'Bottom l-r: Yorkshire First leader Richard Carter, Green Party councillor Andrew Cooper, Lib Dem MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland.

Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Autumn statement on Wednesday with the Conservatives first Comprehensive Spending Review as a majority Government.

The Yorkshire Post has spoken to influential politicians across Yorkshire who tell us what they'd like to see from the Chancellor as he announces his plans for investment and cutbacks.
Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon Julian Smith represents the Government, and has said he will put the security of British families first by ensuring the long term economic plan of austerity continues.

But read on to discover alternatives for spending in Yorkshire from the Lib Dems, Labour, The Green Party, UKIP and Yorkshire First.

The Green Party

Councillor Andrew Cooper, Kirklees Council

The Green Party has called on the Prime Minister to not make any further cuts to local authority spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review on November 25.

Green councillors up and down the country see on a daily basis how this Government’s cuts are wrecking essential services and damaging communities.

The Green Party has called for a genuine review of economic policy in this Spending Review. Rather than Chancellor George Osborne continuing with his austerity agenda for the next three years, we must invest in people, in secure energy, and in vital welfare support.

The Government must rethink its callous and counter productive austerity programme and give local authorities the resources they need to deliver service to the people they work for.
The government’s austerity agenda is derailing the provision of services for all of us, all over the UK.

Local government cuts strike at many of the things we have come to rely on, such as litter collection and services for children and old people, but also the things which enrich and improve lives, including parks, leisure, sports, libraries and museums.

The Prime Minister has acknowledged the impact of his cuts in Oxfordshire. He now needs to make the connection between his own Governments actions and the cuts affecting services on the ground.

The Conservative Party

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon

This Spending Review is about putting the security of British families first. Since we came into Government in 2010, we have had to make realistic assessments of the economy and made difficult decisions to reduce the deficit and control spending.

And thanks to the hard work of people across Yorkshire and the whole of Britain, our long-term economic plan is working. The deficit is down by more than half, there are nearly 2.5 million more private sector jobs and over 900,000 more businesses. Living standards are higher than they were with the average household in Yorkshire forecast to be better off by £900 in 2015 than in 2010.

But the job is not finished and it is why this Spending Review will see us stick to the long-term economic plan which has got us to this point, so we can deliver two million more jobs, three million more apprenticeships and lower taxes – and secure a better future for Britain.

Securing a better future includes securing a better future for Yorkshire and we will continue to deliver on our manifesto promises to achieve our goals.

For instance, in my Skipton and Ripon constituency, there have been 4,030 apprenticeships started since 2010, with 800 started in the last year alone. Across Yorkshire, 9,500 apprenticeships were started last year and employment is up 134,000 since 2010.

By finishing the job of repairing our finances, we can provide economic security for working families, we can protect our national security and create opportunity for everyone.


Jane Collins is MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and the UKIP Employment Spokeswoman

As George Osborne announces how he will be spending four trillion pounds over the next five years in this week's Spending Review much of the focus will be on taxation and welfare, including his planned £4.4bn cuts to working tax credits.

UKIP don’t believe that governments create jobs - that’s what businesses do. But we know that politicians can make life much easier for job creators if they want to. Much of the battle over tax credits is being fought in a vacuum where we are not discussing why these top up payments are needed - because the minimum wage has become the maximum wage thanks to uncontrolled mass immigration.

So a major tranche of a UKIP Spending Review wouldn't be about cuts or spending, it would be about controlling the quality and quantity of people who came to work in the UK. Whether it be for innovative start ups or traditional farms, a low regulatory burden and simple, controlled taxation brings about the growth and jobs that MPs always say they are striving for.
n my region of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire we have seen the devastating effects that obsessive EU environmental directives leading to green levies and high energy prices have had on the steel industry: mass job losses.

Instead of spending millions of pounds a day on our EU membership, we'd use that money to have lower business rates to allow job creation and ensure our industries can compete on the global market. As we have seen from the tragic events in Paris, we must have a well funded border force. That's why we'd want the Spending Review to focus on security: both physical and economic.

The Labour Party

Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East and Shadow Cities Minister

George Osborne’s ‘Comprehensive Spending Review’ is just around the corner. What will it mean for ordinary people and what kind of approach to the economy do we need?

When I look around East Leeds – my home, which I’m proud to represent in Parliament - I know the Conservative Government’s economic policies aren’t working in the interests of ordinary people. The UK economy needs – and people deserve - better than low-paid, insecure employment, a disappearing manufacturing sector and public services starved of necessary funds.

What really drives George Osborne isn’t his failed targets in eliminating the deficit caused by the global banking crisis. What he is really about is surpassing Thatcher in ruthlessly shrinking the state, regardless of the consequences on the lives of ordinary people. The sad truth is that this economic madness will stifle necessary investment, hit our public services hard, leave millions of people worse off and leave our economy more vulnerable to future economic shocks.

Labour’s approach would include investment in education and in the skills and technologies to create the secure, high-wage, productive economy of the future. It’s a scandal that in terms of investment in research and development, the UK is down in 19th place in the OECD’s world rankings. A race to the bottom in pay and job security is no future for the UK economy. Our country can’t succeed without a substantial, modern manufacturing base.

A Labour ‘Comprehensive Spending Review’ would push forward for an economy of the future which delivers for the citizens of places like Leeds, not just the super-rich '1%'. George Osborne’s ongoing Thatcher tribute act just won’t do.

Yorkshire First

Richard Carter, party leader

The Chancellor’s failure to balance the books means more misery for too many. It is failing on his own terms to reduce the deficit. This was the time when austerity would have completed its dirty job… but now we find ourselves only part way through it, which begs the question, what will be different this time?

The ‘Northern powderpuff’ will be high on his agenda. Fine words, but meaningless. Will he announce more ‘city regions’ that will force on us unwanted mayors – a system of Government that only that bastion of democracy, China, has? So what crumbs can we expect to fall off the Chancellors table? Shall we see him decide to address the massive funding difference between London and the regions?

Yorkshire has the worst GCSE results, and lowest number of good/outstanding primary schools in the country. So why do London children receive £1000 per child per annum more than those in Barnsley? For every £1 per person spent in the UK on infrastructure London receives almost 60p – Yorkshire just 8p. Yorkshire generates 16% of UK energy.

The basic problem is who decides. Is it the national government or us in the regions? Yorkshire has a population bigger than Scotland’s and an economy twice that of Wales – but the powers of neither. The only statement he should be giving is that a stronger UK needs a stronger Yorkshire. First rate powers similar to Scotland for a first rate region will allow us to decide our priorities, to help us create a county and country we can all be proud of.

The Liberal Democrats

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West and party campaigns chair

As the Conservative Chancellor stands up to announce £20 billion worth of cuts, the question for Liberal Democrats is whether it will protect our most vulnerable. We hope he will reverse his brutal proposals on tax credits that will cut the incomes of 424,500 families across Yorkshire by a total of £318.4 million.

It cannot be fair to hit the poorest in our society this way. We also hope he will maintain police funding, not just because of the recent Paris attacks, but also to not undermine excellent neighbourhood policing on our streets. West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned the region could see the number of officers it employs cut by 39% compared to the size of the 2010 workforce. Mental health is another vital area.

The Equality for Mental Campaign has said that 75% of children and young people experiencing a mental health problem don’t get any treatment. Will the Chancellor ensure funding is put in place to cater for them?

And following the announcement by the Prime Minister that Britain will accept 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, ministers announced funding for only the first year’s intake of refugees. Local authorities including Leeds City Council have shown a desire to help but will be looking for a longer term funding arrangement to be put in place. Lastly, while we want more devolution, rather than impose a Mayor on our region, the Chancellor should be more flexible about how we get more powers. Ultimately Yorkshire’s future must be decided by local people- not civil servants in Whitehall.