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Labour leader Ed Miliband has today announced a key part of the plan of the Opposition’s manifesto pledge ahead of next year’s general election: devolution to UK cities.
This looks to go beyond the progress the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have made in office, with City Deals, a dedicated single funding pot to support local growth and even a Minister for Cities. All our evidence suggests that greater devolution to UK cities is the right thing to do to boost the economy and it is great news that there is consensus across parties.
But now the debate must turn to how we actually bring foward devolution tailored to our cities; devolution that gives them strong incentives to invest in growth and support for collaborative working across city regions. We know cities matter, but many of our larger cities are not performing as well as they could and London is leading the recovery.
Centre for Cities has been supporting the case for devolution to UK cities and has a strong voice in providing research and practical policy recommendations. Below you can find our reports, briefings and blogs that will provide information on how to successfully devolve powers and responsibilities to UK cities and support the national economy as a result.
Our most recent research Breaking Boundaries explains that empowering city regions and county regions requires a mix of imposition from Government, incentives for councils and initiative from local government. Getting the right mix will make a big difference in the powers and resources our city regions have to invest in growth.
Breaking Boundaries: Tailored devolution offers incentives for councils who choose to come together in formal collaborations and work across boundaries, necessary to providing the efficient transport system, quality housing and skills systems cities need to thrive.
Ways and Means: local government has gained freedoms more in name than in practice. More needs to be done to provide cities with the flexibilities and freedoms they need to raise revenue and prioritise spending.
Supporting Local Government in Austerity: why we need local government finance reform.
Local Government Finance Briefing: policy briefing on the Local Government Finance Bill sets out what the changes mean for UK cities.
Urban Outliers: Could a fairer and more inclusive system reward more cities that support economic growth?
Local Government Resource Review Submission: our response to the consultation.
Capital gains: The LGRR opens up the opportunity for London local authorities to work together in a pan-London business rates pool.
Briefing: Business rates reform: The Government has the opportunity to create a simple, strong, long-term financial incentive for growth.
Room for improvement: With the right design, the NHB and LGRR can create financial incentives for growth that benefit Britain’s cities, and the UK economy as a whole.
Developing Interest: the state of Urban Development Funds in the UK and argues the potential for rethinking them as an investment model.
Banking on Growth: a lack of financial freedom over local revenues restricts local government’s ability to finance capital projects.
A Taxing Journey: TIF is not the answer to local development challenges, but, if designed the right way, it can provide new opportunities for the UK’s cities to invest in their growth.
Mayoral Manoeuvres: How big is the job facing elected city mayors?
Big shot or long shot?: Directly elected mayors have the potential to overcome some of the key local governance challenges.
What can elected mayors do for our cities?: Cities, mayors and economic growth to a new essay collection from the Institute for Government.
Combined Authorities Briefing: Many economic policies work best when implemented at a spatial scale that matches cities’ economic footprints.
Mid-Sized Cities: This report looks at how closer collaboration of the 26 largest cities after the Core Cities might benefit the national economy.
What would Maggie do? This 2011 paper looked at why the Government’s policy on Enterprise Zones needed to be radically different to the failed 80s policy.
Regional Growth Fund Briefing: Is the Regional Growth Fund being used to its full potential or have we asked too much from one limited fund.
Cause celebre or cause for concern? If LEPs are expected to drive the Government’s growth agenda, they need the tools to do so.
Turning over all the stones: In responding to Heseltine, government has a ‘once in a Parliament’ opportunity to redefine the relationship between central and local government.
Plan C for Cities: A new collection of essays from senior city figures on how cities can drive economic growth.
Wave 2 City Deals Briefing: policy briefing which sets out how the second round of City Deals will work.
City Deals Insights: We have interviewed the Core Cities to find out about their experiences of the City Deals.
Senior Consultant, City Economics at Arup
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