Liberal Democrat News 02 November 2012

November 5, 2012 8:49 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

More cities free for growth

The Deputy Prime Minister announced this week that 20 more cities and their wider areas will be given the opportunity to bid for radical new powers to boost local growth under the 'City Deals' programme.

Cities from the successful first wave of deals, with England's

eight largest cities, secured groundbreaking powers including the ability to 'earn back' tax from the Treasury, devolved transport budgets and control of the skills budget for their city.

The second group includes: the Black Country; Bournemouth; Brighton and Hove; Hull and Humber; Ipswich; Leicester and Leicestershire; Greater Norwich; Oxford; Reading; Plymouth; Southampton and Portsmouth; Stoke and Staffordshire; Sunderland and the North East; Swindon and Wiltshire and the Tees Valley.

"In the best English tradition we have witnessed a quiet revolution across the nation's eight largest cities," said Nick. "From control over buses and trains and the freedom to plug skills gaps, to powers to 'earn back' tax and

set up local investment funds to spend on local projects - the deals are unlocking the huge potential of our cities so they can go for growth.

"Now it's time to free even more places from Whitehall control. I want these 20 cities and their wider areas to come up with ambitious and innovative proposals to help them make changes that will be felt by everyone across their region."

City Deals are a key part of the government's objectives of rebalancing the economy and boosting private sector growth. The Deals will accelerate the pace of decentralisation and unlock new and innovative ways to drive growth.

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the chance for Cambridge - was one of the cities announced this week - to bid for more government funding. "This is an excellent opportunity for Cambridge to demonstrate what it is capable of - freeing us to do what we want with less interference from Whitehall," he said.

"Cambridge has always struggled because of the lack of government funding for major infrastructure. Despite this, the City has proved it is one of the strongest economic centres in the UK; but it could do so much more with the right financial support. If our bid is successful, it will open up a whole range of new opportunities for our City; the possibilities are endless," added Julian.