Areas outside the major city regions will also benefit from devolution, and need deals tailored to their specific needs.
With the Budget fast approaching, debate has been growing about what devolution deals will and will not appear next week. Negotiations continue and we wait to hear the results but, as I said in our annual Budget letter this week, Centre for Cities would like to see devolution deals retain an urban focus if their priority continues to be economic growth. So what might this mean in practice?
Ideally, we will have major devolution deals done with all the remaining major city regions, along the lines of (but not exactly the same as) Greater Manchester and including additional powers over transport, skills and planning. Agreeing to have metro mayors for the West of England (Bristol) and Leeds City Region, for example, would give these significant economic centres additional powers and a leadership model that will help those city regions make the most of their local economies. We’d also like to see more on the table for all city regions with devolution deals in terms of housing and skills policy.
In other areas, I hope we will see more deals, but different to those agreed with the major city regions and tailored to local need. One of the best policy developments in recent years has been the insistence by Greg Clark, George Osborne, Lord Heseltine and others on tearing up the old rules for policymaking. They have explicitly rejected the idea of having geographies decided in Whitehall, going at the pace of the slowest and having the same policies everywhere or nowhere. Instead we have seen demand-led, bottom-up policymaking carried out at the level of the ‘real’ economy that allows for innovation, ambition and different policies across the country. I hope that this Budget will demonstrate that this flexible, far more innovative approach continues to be rolled out in policy and in particular that devolution deals agreed with areas outside the major city regions will:
In an era of global economic challenges, this Budget will be a tough one to craft, but devolution deals offer a real opportunity to support future prosperity, as well as redesign public services. My hope is that the Government continues to make the most of UK city regions, of all sizes, by equipping them with the tools they need to grow in the years ahead.
Leave a comment
Be the first to add a comment.