Call to give more power to the re­gions

Sir Keir makes plea at lead­ing busi­ness awards

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Greg Wright DEPUTY BUSI­NESS EDI­TOR @greg­wrightyp

BRI­TAIN needs a new set­tle­ment that de­volves more power to the re­gions and sits along­side a deal that gov­erns our new re­la­tion­ship with the EU, ac­cord­ing to Shadow Brexit Sec­re­tary Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir called for more re­sources and in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing across the North of Eng­land when he ad­dressed around 400 in­dus­try

The York­shire Post’s lead­ers at Ex­cel­lence in Busi­ness Awards.

Sir Keir told the au­di­ence at the awards din­ner at the Na­tional Rail­way Mu­seum in York: “We need a deal with the EU, of course, but also a deal for Bri­tain.”

He said the phrase “let’s take back con­trol” had res­o­nance dur­ing the EU ref­er­en­dum cam­paign.

He added: “The more peo­ple asked them­selves, ‘Do I have enough con­trol?’ the more they said, ‘No, I don’t’.

“That rhetoric was re­flec­tive of the state of the na­tion... Of a vote in which mil­lions of peo­ple, said, ‘Ac­tu­ally, the way the econ­omy and pol­i­tics work is not good enough’.”

He con­tin­ued: “Along­side the right deal with the EU, we also need to have a new set­tle­ment for the UK.

“That new set­tle­ment has got to in­clude a gen­uine move for more re­sources and more in­fra­struc­ture and power to our re­gions.”

Sir Keir asked why build­ing work had al­ready started on HS2 – a high-speed rail­way which, when com­pleted, will con­nect Lon­don, Birm­ing­ham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manch­ester – when, in his opin­ion, work should have started on HS3, a planned high speed rail line across the north of Eng­land.

He added: “Surely, there can be no clearer vote of con­fi­dence in the peo­ple and econ­omy of York­shire than the de­ci­sion to bring the Chan­nel 4 head­quar­ters to Leeds.

“That is fan­tas­tic. I do hope that many more pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties will be moved out of the cap­i­tal.”

But with ex­tra in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture, con­nec­tions could be im­proved be­tween Leeds and Manch­ester, which has be­come a ma­jor base for the BBC.

Sir Keir said that, when he spoke to union and busi­ness lead­ers, they agreed that the man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices sec­tors must be safe­guarded dur­ing the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

He added: “My job... will be to play my part in de­liv­er­ing a Brexit deal that works for busi­nesses up and down the coun­try.

“I’ve spo­ken in the last two years to prob­a­bly around 1,000 busi­nesses, ei­ther face to face or in small groups.”

He said these meet­ings had given him a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the way busi­nesses are run.

He added: “Mil­lions of peo­ple have put their en­er­gies into cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful busi­nesses in York­shire; sat­is­fy­ing cus­tomers and pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment. These awards are a re­ally in­cred­i­ble way of recog­nis­ing that.”

Sir Keir was elected as Labour MP for Hol­born & St Pan­cras in May 2015. Be­fore be­com­ing an MP, he was a hu­man rights lawyer who con­ducted cases in a wide range of in­ter­na­tional courts, in­clud­ing the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights.

In 2008 Sir Keir was ap­pointed Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) and Head of the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice for Eng­land and Wales, a role he held un­til 2013.

In Oc­to­ber 2016, Sir Keir was ap­pointed to the Shadow Cabi­net, tak­ing up the role of Shadow Sec­re­tary of State for Ex­it­ing the EU.

The awards din­ner was hosted by Der­mot Murnaghan, the Sky News an­chor and also in­cluded a speech about the strength of the re­gion’s econ­omy from Mark Casci, The York­shire Post’s

Busi­ness Edi­tor.

PICTURE: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE

KEY­NOTE SPEECH:Sir Keir Starmer was the guest speaker at this year’s busi­ness awards.

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