Friday, 12 September 2014

Delivering greater powers to communities

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, will today set out his vision for decentralisation and devolution for the North of England.

Nick will speak at event hosted by IPPR North and follows the launch of the Northern Futures project.

The Northern Futures project is a new approach to policy-making which means that rather than decisions being made by politicians and civil servants in Whitehall, the power is given to the people who live and work in the North.

Liberal Democrats have always been committed to decentralising power and freeing individuals from the one-size-fits-all state.

The Northern Futures project builds on the work Liberal Democrats have done in government to give cities and communities more control over how they run.

Liberal Democrats record of delivery in government for cities and communities include:
  • Devolving power to many of Britain’s cities through the new City Deals. These deals grant new powers and freedoms to create economic growth and help businesses grow. So far 28 cities have been asked to bid for City Deal status. City Deals create thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships.
  • Reforming business rates. Under measures introduced by Liberal Democrats in government, a proportion of money collected locally now stays local. Since 2013/4 much of the rates collected are retained by local authorities. This allows councils to have direct control of more than 80 per cent of their budgets rather than the 50 per cent previously.
  • Creating Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP). These are partnerships between local authorities and businesses, each with an enterprise zone that can take advantages of tax incentives and simplified local planning regulations. There are currently 39 LEPs across England and Wales.
  • Launching Local Growth Deals. The government negotiates deals with all 39 LEPs to decide how the Local Growth Fund is split between LEPs, using local authority assets to create a long-term strategy to put growth at the heart of everything they do.