Should more power be taken from Whitehall to Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire? Labour’s Chuka Umunna thinks so.

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna - Credit: PA

Labour's shadow business secretary has hinted he would slash the number of ministers in a bid to give more power to the regions if his party wins power in 2015.

Chuka Umunna heralded the French system of government as he set out his plans at a lunch in Westminster.

Although he did not reveal a blueprint for how power would be handed out, he said: 'How can I be dictating to people in Manchester, Sunderland, Newcastle, Birmingham - wherever it is - what is best for their regional economy?

'They know what's best for their regional economy, they know how they can be world-beating - and we've got to give them the tools to do that.'

Labour has already indicated that it would keep Local Enterprise Partnership, such New Anglia in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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Mr Umunna said: 'They (in France) have about 40 ministers – we have over 80 in this country - and that's partly because there's a lot more power for their mayors and local elected representatives. Therefore, there isn't the need for so many ministers at the centre. That illustrates just how centralised we are as a country,' he said.

Asked if Labour also wanted to cut minister in the UK he replied: 'I think that's certainly something I can envisage – yes. If you end up with a smaller number of ministers, because you have pushed power out, then I'm fine with that.'

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Over the next few months, for transport secretary and Labour peer Lord Adonis will be touring the country as he carries out a 'growth review' for the Labour Party and Mr Umunna said he eagerly awaited the results.

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