Core cities call for ‘place based’ Spending Review

6 Jul 15

The UK’s major cities have issued a joint call for a more local, place-based approach to public spending to form part of the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Core Cities UK – comprising the leaders and mayors of Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, but not London – said the CSR process needed to be radically reformed.

Sir Richard Leese, chair of Core Cities UK and leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We want radical reform of the way the government works and how it spends. No more silos and no more duplication and wasting of valuable resource. These are critical times and a ‘business as usual’ approach is not the way forward.

“We want a ‘place-based’ Comprehensive Spending Review that looks at the total public resource deployed across a city or city region and works out how this can be joined up to get the best results, change lives and save money.”

Leese added that such an approach would help to solve the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ – that is, despite rising economic growth and employment, GDP per hour worked is flatlining, and is lower than it was before the crash.

“If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it is that a centrally planned, centrally delivered programme cannot solve all our economic woes,” Leese said.

Planning for the CSR is expected to commence immediately after this week’s emergency Budget.

Last week, local government secretary Greg Clark said the CSR process represented an “unmissable opportunity” to demonstrate how locally based reform can benefit the whole country.

He also said he would make the case to his Cabinet colleagues for more certainty in local funding.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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