Labour leader Ed Miliband warns that climate change is now an urgent issue of national security.
Miliband has unveiled localism policy Reuters

Ed Miliband said it himself when launching his new localism policy, every time small businesses and communities are told central government is determined to devolve power and cash to them, they "roll their eyes". And they have been told many, many times over the years.

But here we go again. Both chancellor George Osborne and now Miliband have unveiled polices for a new localism aimed at balancing Britain's economic recovery, boosting the once-powerful cities and ensuring every region benefits from the revival.

Miliband's policy would see regions keep any additional revenue raised from business rates, and a total of £30bn of central government spending handed down to local authorities with the aim of boosting job, apprenticeships and local enterprise.

"I know the next Labour government cannot solve every problem by pulling levers in Whitehall," he said at the launch of the policy in Leeds.

"We can only do it by working with, harnessing the ideas, energy and the dynamism of great businesses, cities and county regions so you can help build and share in a more successful and prosperous Britain."

And, once again, eyes have started rolling and the feeling we have heard it all before is hard to escape.

British Conservative Party Former Cabinet Minister Michael Heseltine
Hesetline has long championed devolution to regions Reuters

No one doubts that both the Tories, through work done by former minister Michael Heseltine, and Labour, through its own "big thinker" Andrew Adonis have identified a genuine problem and devised reasonably radical ways of tackling it.

And they both want to ensure the recovery reaches every region of the country because, apart from anything else, it is needed to ensure social cohesion and end the ages-old fact that Britain is scarred by a deep and damaging north-south divide.

The problem is that voters and businesses have indeed heard it before, from Heseltine during Margaret Thatcher's reign for example, and have yet to see the sort of radical widespread regeneration promised. This time it needs to be different.

And there is some reason to believe, with the Labour party at least, it will have to be different and that a Miliband government would need to deliver on these promises or suffer disproportionately through the ballot box.

Because the regions and cities Miliband is targeting are traditional Labour heartlands, the places the party weighs votes rather than counts them. Or at least, that used to be the case.

Those old certainties have been gradually eroded, and when the recent analysis of Ukip's support was done it highlighted the problem with the so-called "left behind" groups of people from precisely those regions which once routinely voted Labour.

The notion that Labour can rely on the big old industrial cities to hand it votes in sacks full no longer holds, voters are just as likely to flip between parties, now including Ukip, or simply not bother voting at all.

Miliband urgently needs to reconnect with those voters and by far the best way to do that is to show a Labour government would bring back the jobs and the sense of community to those cities and regions.

At the same time, the Labour leader is aware that all the work his predecessors Gordon Brown and Tony Blair did in wooing businesses and shedding Labour's old anti-business tag is being corroded by his apparently less friendly approach.

So the second element of the new policy is to reassure businesses that Labour is on their side. Ed Balls started the process with a speech setting out how a Labour government would encourage long-term business investment, freeze some business rates and promote skills through technical colleges.

The challenge, however, is to convince sceptical voters and businesses that this is not just more of the same old stuff they have heard before and are still waiting to see in practice.