Latest Public Sector News

05.07.12

City Deals will see budgets devolved from Whitehall

Eight cities are to receive extra powers over transport, infrastructure and education budgets, as they sign up to new ‘City Deals’.

Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester have been negotiating the deals with cities minister Greg Clark and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for the past six months. Preliminary deals had already been signed withManchesterandLiverpool.

Cash currently distributed to these councils by Government departments will instead be devolved directly to the cities, giving them more flexibility over local spending, it is hoped.

Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley and Harrogate have formed a new combined authority of West Yorkshire and have promised to cut the number of Neets – people not in education, employment or training – within the city area in return for power over transport spending.

Ministers suggest the deals could create 170,000 jobs and 37,000 apprentices over 20 years and unlock £8.2bn in infrastructure spending.

Clark said: “Our major cities have seized the opportunity to take control of their economic destiny and will now reap the benefits of new financial freedoms and investment opportunities available to them.”

Clegg added: “Everyone in these eight core cities will feel the benefits – from young people looking for jobs, to businesses looking to expand. Over the coming months, we are transferring more and more power from Whitehall to these cities.”

Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield council, said: “The City Deal will mean that local people who best understand the needs of the local economy will decide how £23.8m of government skills funding should be invested.”

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Hilary Benn welcomed the deals, but called for more devolution of powers to other areas. He said: “What we now need is a clear commitment that local authorities in all parts of England– including other cities, counties and districts – will be given the same opportunity to come together and take back power in the interests of the communities they represent.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Harvey   05/07/2012 at 14:26

Incredibly hard to monitor whether future jobs / growth is a direct consequence of this move: which probably helps the Government no end!

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