Clegg pledges emergency help for regions hardest hit by public spending cuts

Help: Nick Clegg insists regions hit hard by cuts will be supported

Help: Nick Clegg insists regions hit hard by cuts will be supported

Parts of the country hit hardest by public spending cuts will receive emergency help from the Government, Nick Clegg revealed today.

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted that regions heavily dependent on state sector jobs would not be 'left high and dry' as the nation tightens its belt. 

Mr Clegg said special measures are being prepared to ease the impact on parts of the North East, North West, South Yorkshire and London.

Private companies will be encouraged to expand in the hope they can absorb public sector workers who lose their jobs.

'I am as aware as anyone else of the dangers of the disproportionate impact on those areas of the country which are very dependent on public sector employment,' he told the Independent.

'What you will see over the next few weeks and months is a series of measures that we are taking to ensure that, as the black hole is addressed, it's done in a way which is sensitive - much more sensitive than in previous recessions - to the particular need of those parts of the country that are very dependent on the public purse.'

Mr Clegg said former Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws' sudden departure at the weekend was a 'tragedy' but insisted it had made the coalition stronger.

'The key thing is the government remains absolutely on track in what we set out to do in our coalition agreement and that is unaffected by the weekend's events.

'If anything, in a strange kind of way, the internal cohesion of a government - of any government, never mind a coalition - is often strengthened by how it reacts to unexpected setbacks and I think that is probably true in this case as well.'

Discussing his relationship with David Cameron, he said: 'We speak every day, if not several times a day - it's a very strong working partnership.'

The father of three said he was 'very lucky' that the Prime Minister also has small children, revealing they agreed to delay a Cabinet meeting to fit in with the school run.

This was, he said, 'a reflection... of the fact that we are both of the same generation in this new politics.'

He insisted the Liberal Democrats had not compromised their core values to get into power and spoke of his huge ambitions for the five-year term.

'The history books will judge this government not by whether we've filled the black hole in the public finances. That is just the necessary first step to govern successfully. 

'But whether we leave this country more socially mobile, with greater social opportunity than when we found it, that's the acid test.'

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