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Lord Heseltine's harsh verdict on economic growth

Video report from Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg in Birmingham.

Lord Heseltine was asked to put his considerable brain and considerable experience to work by the coalition to consider ways to give our sluggish economy a kick.

Having read the 235 pages of his report into economic growth they might wish they hadn't bothered.

Although the former minister insists it is all in the spirit of constructive criticism and he clearly backs the decisions the Government has made on the deficit, beyond that, when listing the faults he identifies with the Government's growth strategy so far, it is rather hard to know where to start.

The coalition have been weak on aviation and must bring forward a decision on Heathrow rapidly.

It is 'essential' that they come up with an overarching plan for growth.

The economy must be made a much bigger priority for all of government. Progress on infrastructure has fallen far short of ambition.

The Government's replacement for the scrapped Regional Development Agencies must have more power. Whitehall must be more confident.

The Government has to be more strategic. Apprenticeships are not up to scratch. The list is seemingly endless.

It should be said that many of the issues he identifies are long term problems, but it is clear he takes a dim view of how convincingly the Government has behaved.

Lord Heseltine at a press conference with then Conservative Party leader David Cameron in 2007. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

His proposed solutions contain some potentially worthy ideas, many borrowed from other countries - better links between business and government; making more of our world class research; more powerful Chambers of Commerce, and a government attitude that is a little more discerning about allowing foreign takeovers.

Yet many of the ideas are also arguments that he has made before - passing powers convincingly back to different authorities around the UK who understand what their regions really need; introducing more mayors despite the public's lack of enthusiasm.

And despite his own plea that the opportunity to 'kick difficult decisions into the long grass' is eradicated, there is little sign so far that many of his ideas will find favour with the Government.

Despite his own warning that all too often reports like this end up on the shelf, his ideas themselves may be quickly forgotten, his criticisms what is remembered.