Brown show reaches Liverpool

By Laura Miller

Gordon Brown and his Cabinet met in Liverpool today to discuss urban regeneration and the government’s latest plans to spend its way out of the recession.

The third meeting of its kind outside the capital since September is part of the prime minister’s current “listening” tour of Britain, aimed at reassuring the country with his policies to protect jobs during the downturn.

Two hundred “representative” Liverpool residents were invited to grill the PM before the meeting.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson announced a £35 million start-up programme for the north west region to help new enterprises.

“We will not repeat the mistakes made in previous recessions of retrenchment – stop-go policies in public investment have reduced Britain’s competitiveness over many decades,” Lord Mandelson said.

At a breakfast meeting in the city chancellor Alistair Darling met with regional business leaders including representatives from Jaguar Land Rover, who asked Mr Darling to give his support to a campaign for short-term loans or loan guarantees to the car maker, which employs 2,200 in Merseyside and 13,000 in the West Midlands.

The Conservatives have dismissed Mr Brown’s move to set up Cabinet meetings outside London as a “gimmick”.