Devolution could ‘unlock £80bn in economic growth'

Local Government Association claims 34 devolution proposals submitted ahead of the Spending Review would lead to widespread increased prosperity if implemented

A total of 34 devolution proposals designed to loosen the South-East’s grip on the government’s purse strings could lead to an economic boost worth £80bn, according to the Local Government Authority (LGA).

The proposals include calls to invest in infrastructure in all major regions in the UK to increase productivity and economic output, thus closing the gap between London & the South-East and the rest of the country.

The report claims that passing £60bn of government spending from central government to local authorities would help to achieve that goal.

It quotes one of the main aims of the governments spending review of “promoting growth and productivity through the radical devolution of powers to local areas in England”.

>See also: UK productivity lags behind G7 average

A selection of the proposals put forward by the LGA ahead of the Spending Review include:

  • One in seven small businesses say the lack of reliable, fast broadband is their main barrier to growth – councils could achieve 100 per cent broadband coverage with full control over future public funding of superfast and mobile broadband rollout.
  • 32 seconds per mile will be lost to congestion by 2035 – councils should be given full control over bus and road maintenance funding and any new funding to promote cycling and walking to provide an integrated transport system and reduce congestion.
  • By 2022, the LGA estimates 8 million people could be without a job or in work they are over-qualified for plunging productivity by a fifth – localising all back-to-work and skills schemes would ensure a better supply to meet employers’ specific local skills needs.

LGA chairman cllr Gary Porter said that decades of centralised power “have failed to produce a more balanced economy”.

“It is time to spend smarter on infrastructure to get maximum value from every public pound. This starts with a much more effective and efficient approach to investing in local growth,” he added.

“The ability to improve transport links and digital connectivity would allow councils to boost our visitor economy which is worth £60 billion to the UK each year and supports one in 10 jobs.

“An integrated transport system would also lead to less congestion, giving more choice to commuters and consumers and making a huge difference to helping businesses succeed and grow.”

Further reading: Tech start-ups pitch for investment in Manchester

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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