Manchester Evening News interview: Baroness Warsi insists Tories haven’t abandoned regions

Published in the Manchester Evening News, Tuesday 4th October 2011

By Deborah Linton

The regions are a regular feature on the table at cabinet, according to Conservative party chair Sayeeda Warsi.

Baroness Warsi insisted that ministers were ‘absolutely’ focused on treating all parts of Britain equally as she took on local critics who claim the coalition has abandoned poorer urban areas like Greater Manchester in favour of wealthier southern shires when dishing out spending cuts.

She told the M.E.N: “I can assure you all of us who sit around that cabinet table are absolutely focused in making sure all parts of this country are treated fairly.”

She said she was adamant the regions did not suffer more but added that there was a responsibility on local council chiefs not to ‘squander money’.

Baroness Warsi also said she believed government was right to engage in ‘tough love’ with people who depend on the state. She said: “This
government’s aim is we should make it harder for people to stay on benefits; we should make it easier for people to get jobs.

“I believe the government is right to engage in tough love saying to people we’re not going to write you off.”

She said the decisions being taken by ministers at the moment were necessary for a more stable future and Britain needed politicians in control of decisions, not ducking them. Responding to pressure on the cabinet to change course on the economy and ease cuts she said: “I don’t think anybody expected us to wave a magic wand and make it all better in a year and a half.”

She continued: “If you speak to families and members of the public who themselves are going through very difficult times and if you ever pose to them the question do you want to have the good times now or a more stable future for your kids and your kids’ kids they will always choose the latter.

Baroness Warsi also admitted she agreed with MPs who have labelled some of the changes included in the Boundary Commission’s constituency shake-up ‘mad and insane’. However, she said she thought the basis for the reform was absolutely correct.