Devolution of powers to combined authorities could boost economic growth in the UK’s 15 largest metropolitan areas by £79 billion a year
This is the view of the City Growth Commission, a temporary group tasked with looking at how to speed up the economic recovery and make it city-driven. With the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority still cutting its teeth, it could well find itself well-placed to exploit new opportunities if the rumoured devolvement of powers goes ahead in the Autumn Statement and following next May’s election.
The Commission recommends that an independent committee be set up, to determine the ‘readiness’ of each authority for devolution, to coincide with the January 2015 deadline for draft legislation granting extra powers to the Scottish Parliament. Although each authority’s powers and responsibilities would be subject to negotiation, they would be likely to include ‘a suite’ of devolved taxes, including business rates and council tax.
Mike Cartwright of Bradford Chamber said: “For years, members have expressed concern about the centralisation of powers in government, and argued that local decision-makers are best-placed to with first-hand knowledge and contacts to make better judgements on what is needed locally. We look forward to seeing whether this report is acted upon or not.”