Centre for Cities welcomes Ed Miliband’s commitment to devolve significant funding and powers to English city regions in the next Parliament. We have long argued that, if cities are to fulfil their potential and deliver the jobs, housing, skills and growth the country needs, they need more money, powers and autonomy to take the big decisions that affect the lives of those who live there. Miliband’s speech echoes the findings of our latest report Breaking Boundaries, which argued that devolution to city and county regions with strong governance structures will improve economic outcomes and improve service delivery.
Devolution of the Work Programme, skills funding and doubling the growth funding allocated to city regions are particularly significant announcements, but the next challenge is ensuring that this translates into real change. There is a growing consensus that cities hold the key to future job and growth. Yet despite the current government’s significant efforts to push funding and powers down from Whitehall to cities, progress has been patchy. For all political parties wishing to make devolution to English cities a reality requires a combination of both political passion and the right administrative process. This is the only way to support long term funding certainty and the freedom for cities to truly set their own priorities and make their own investments to support jobs and growth.