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Mayoral combined authorities promised new borrowing powers

Mayoral combined authorities will be allowed to borrow money in order to “reflect their new responsibilities”, the chancellor announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement.

Philip Hammond said combined authorities would be able to borrow money to invest in economically productive infrastructure, subject to agreeing a borrowing cap with the Treasury.

The statement also contained information about allocation of the third round of Growth Deal funding, worth £1.8bn and intended for costs including skills, housing, transport and digital infrastructure.

This will see £556m given to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the north, £392m to the Midlands, £151m to the east of England, £492m to London and the south east, and £191m to the south west. The government said the individual LEPs will be announced in the next few months.

Following a National Audit Office report raising concerns about the degree of scrutiny involved in Growth Deals, the government said funding will only be available once LEPs include new transparency measures in their assurance frameworks.

In the Budget, the government also announced that it will begin a consultation on lending local authorities up to £1bn at a new local infrastructure rate of gilts + 60 basis points for three years to support infrastructure projects that are of high value for money.

Yesterday, Cambridge City Council gave its approval to the Cambridge and Peterborough devolution deal, supporting the government’s devolution agenda by forming the country’s first non-metropolitan combined authority.

(Image c. PA)

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