Think-tank recommends commissions to boost local prosperity

14 Dec 17

Every city and combined authority should set up an Inclusive Growth Investment Commission, the Centre for Cities think-tank has said.

These commissions would bring together public and private partners, to develop, coordinate and finance polices to increase prosperity.

In a report, released yesterday, supported by social research body the Joseph Rowntree Foundation it said there were four main ways in which this could be done.

The report called for more places to raise revenue through a workplace-parking levy to generate funds for public transport by charging for dedicated parking spaces provided by employers.

This power has been available to councils since 2000, but only Nottingham City Council has implemented it, bringing in some £9m a year.

Another approach would be to help businesses in deprived areas by increasing support for responsible finance providers.

These provide loans to small firms who find it otherwise hard to access credit, but could do more if they enjoyed better access to capital.

Public and private partner could also use the local asset backed vehicle mechanism to develop public land, while city funds – such as that run by Bristol City Council – could be used to coordinate investment in projects.

Centre for Cites chief executive Andrew Carter said: “Concerns about poverty and exclusion are among the key political issues of our age.

“But local authorities do not have the finance or scope to tackle these issues alone, and nor should they be expected to.

“Instead, city leaders should bring together public, private and community actors to collaborate on efforts to extend growth and prosperity to more people across their areas.”

Carter said the proposed commissions would offer a platform to find new ways to raise finance and long-term investment.

He also urged the government to give localities greater tax-raising powers.

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