By Helen Mooney
10 September 2009
The government must continue to devolve power to sub-regions and local authorities if it is to succeed in harnessing the ‘untapped potential’ in these areas, a think-tank has urged.
As Communities Secretary John Denham approved three new Multi-Area Agreements on September 9, New Local Government Network director Chris Leslie warned that the government needed to ensure that it carried on devolving power to a local level.
‘Central government needs to do more to further unlock the powers that local authorities and sub-regions need to harness the untapped potential in their areas, especially in terms of economic development,’ he said.
‘If these new MAAs had additional powers – for instance a longer-term commitment from the Treasury on capital grant funding – then many other cities and sub-regions would follow suit.’
The three new MAAs comprise: City Region of Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country; North Kent; and the West of England. These regions join the ten existing MAAs.
The agreements are designed to establish cross-boundary coalitions of local authorities with plans to tackle issues including housing, transport and skills at a regional and sub-regional level.
Denham said: ‘People live and work across different council boundaries and it is right that local authorities do the same. By joining forces through MAAs, councils will also avoid unnecessary duplication, helping to ensure that taxpayers’ money is being worked as hard as possible in the current climate.’
See Chris Leslie’s feature
on the use of municipal bonds