To the joy of the Lib Dems, the coalition’s British Business Bank, which has just been awarded an extra £250m, is to be permanently headquartered in Sheffield, the home of one Nick Clegg. The official line from BIS (run by Vince Cable) is that the city was chosen as the department has an unused building left over from the Capital for Enterprise programme, although it would be surprising if Clegg’s political woes were not a consideration.
— Sheffield Lib Dems (@SheffLibDems) December 2, 2013
It’s not the first time that the Lib Dems have been accused of pork barrel politics (an invaluable US term to describe the use of government money for the benefit of ministers’ constituents). Of the 10 areas that Danny Alexander last month announced would benefit from rural fuel duty relief, eight are Lib Dem-held. Alexander’s Inverness constituents have also benefited from tax breaks for ski lifts, funding for a tourist railway and the rescue of the London-Scotland sleeper train.
But after the government memorably chose to make the removal of an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters one of its first cuts, perhaps Clegg was owed some compensation. Either way, expect much more of this sort of thing as we get closer to May 2015.