Labour has slammed Vince Cable for turning the business department into a “department of stagnation” after failing to pay out cash from the government’s flagship regional growth fund.
In a speech to the Labour party conference in Liverpool, shadow business secretary John Denham said that his Liberal Democrat counterpart in the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills had “turned the entire department of growth into the department of stagnation”.
As LGC revealed last month, of the 50 successful bids to the first round of the gvoernmennt’s flagship regional growth fund, just one has completed the process of due diligence and has been approved.
Addressing the business secretary directly, Mr Denham said: “You tripled university fees, scrapped the RDAs, slashed support for business. And you haven’t even paid out a penny from the Regional Growth Fund, 14 months since you launched it.
“You cut too far and too fast. Turned the entire department of growth into the department of stagnation.”
Mr Denham said the government must act quickly to introduce Labour’s five growth measures, outlined earlier by shadow chancellor Ed Balls, saying that “in difficult times governments can’t just stand by and watch”.
“Governments can shape the choices companies make; they can encourage investment in critical parts of the economy; they can use procurement to foster skills, innovation and new markets; they can create the transparency that brings fair pay.
Governments can shape markets by the competition rules they set, the institutions they create for finance research and technology - and by their vision for the future.
“Small businesses are hurting. If you can’t get banks lending, don’t just stand by and watch. Get the Green Investment Bank going now, reform the banks the public owns, and like Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and me, look at the case for a national investment bank.”