LONDON, April 7 Britain's opposition leader Ed
Miliband will on Tuesday appeal to voters living outside London
by offering to double the spending powers of regions and cities
in England if his Labour party wins the next election.
Labour have a 4 percentage point opinion poll lead over
Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives heading into a 2015
election. But Miliband has been criticised for a perceived lack
of economic policies to challenge the Conservatives, who have
won credit for overseeing Britain's recovery from recession.
Identifying devolution as path to greater prosperity outside
London, Miliband will offer a two-fold increase in the funding
under the control of English cities and regions if they come up
with an economic strategy to generate well-paid jobs.
"We need a prosperous London, but we also need to build
prosperity outside it," Miliband will say according to extracts
of his speech released in advance.
Last year, one of the coalition government's senior members,
Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, said London's powerhouse economy
was becoming "a giant suction machine draining the life out of
the rest of the country".
Miliband's party sits on the centre-left of British politics
and typically dominates voting in the less-prosperous north of
the country, home to some of the lowest productivity levels.
He said the devolution could hand over control of 20 billion
pounds to cities and regions by the end of the decade, allowing
direct investment in housing and transport infrastructure
without central government approval.
Official data shows productivity rates are highest in inner
London, where financial services firms generate high outputs
with relatively few staff, but drop off sharply outside the city
and are lowest in regions traditionally linked to manufacturing.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Toby Chopra)