City and business leaders the UK’s eight biggest urban regions outside London have joined forces with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to lobby the government for greater devolution of powers.
The new ‘Cities for Business’ partnership is a 16-strong board that will advise the government on rebalancing the economy, work to create jobs, investment and growth, and help businesses in local economies. Leaders from Liverpool and Manchester will join councils and LEPs from Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Newcastle and Sheffield to create the new partnership.
Cities for Business will cover a wider area than the Core Cities alone because LEPs cover entire city regions and will offer more clout when it comes to advising the government. A statement released today says freedom from central control will create 1.16 million jobs and add £222 billion to the national economy by 2030.
It also calls for the government to sit down with the partnership to discuss its plans. Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and chair of the Core Cities cabinet, says: “We believe that local leaders, both private and public, have the best grasp of the challenges and opportunities for business in our areas. For our cities to reach their full potential as engines of growth and job creation, we need greater freedoms to react to our particular circumstances and strengths rather than having a ‘one size fits all’ approach imposed on us centrally.”
Liverpool’s Mayor, Joe Anderson, says: “We desperately need greater freedom to control our own destiny. I know my city far better than anyone in Whitehall and if Liverpool was able to retain more of the taxes it raises we could use them to generate the right skills to enable people to get jobs, attract more investment and give more support to business.
“At the moment 95 percent of taxes raised in Liverpool are sent to Government when cities in Germany, Sweden, Canada and the US keep up to ten times more. We need more decentralisation if we are to compete globally.“