As reported in the Hull Daily Mail on 26th March 2013:
MPs have refuted Lord Heseltine’s suggestion that British people are so wealthy they lack the “national will” to secure an economic recovery. In a newspaper interview, the former Deputy Prime Minister said there was no “God-given rule” that said there had to be a “well-performing economy”.
The peer, whose proposals for stimulating regional growth are being piloted in the Humber region, said: “It’s a question of whether the national will is there; whether we want it. And the richer you get the less imperative there is.”
But Hull East MP Karl Turner said there was “certainly a will locally to improve the economic situation but we need help from the Government”.
Mr Turner said: “I do take his point that adversity is often the driver of innovation, but I can assure Lord Heseltine the people that come to my surgery in East Hull do have real problems and do want to see the economy improve.”
One of the Government’s most senior advisers, Lord Heseltine recently published a report – No Stone Unturned – which advocated beefing up Local Enterprise Partnerships and giving city regions such as the Humber more cash and power.
Most of the recommendations in his report were accepted by Chancellor George Osborne in last week’s Budget.
In the interview, Lord Heseltine said: “Maybe one of the problems of advanced economies is that people are sufficiently well off that they don’t need to drive themselves any more.
“All these comparisons with China and India are ridiculous. “I’ve just come back from India. You know why they’ve got to drive themselves – they’ve got real problems.
“While in this country there are people with problems, the vast majority of people have standards that are not comparable with the Third World.” Mr Turner said he did not think Lord Heseltine “should be using the Third World as a benchmark as to whether people in the UK are suffering enough”.
And Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis said while Lord Heseltine’s remarks might “be true of some British people”, “plenty are still quite poor, anxious to do a job, earn some money and improve their family’s welfare”.
Mr Davis said: “It’s no excuse for the Government to say they’re too wealthy, it’s the job of governments to make it possible for them to become so.”
InShort MPs have disputed Lord Heseltine’s claims that the UK lacks the will to improve the economic situation.