Give cities local government finance powers

A new report has argued for radical change to give cities a constitutional role in directly tackling the issues of local government finances.

Beyond Devolution: the final report of the local democracy network, published by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), proposes a bold programme to address some of the country’s biggest challenges, including Brexit, industrial strategy and reforms to local government finances.

The report, a year in the making, urges for the creation of a Mayors’ Senate, a Commission on Local Government Finance led by local government, a constitutional settlement, and a reinvigoration of devolution.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: “We cannot rely on central government alone to guide us through the enormous challenges that lie ahead. We need radical change that gives greater power to civic leaders outside Westminster and an overhaul of how local areas are funded, led by local government.

“Central government has limited capacity and inclination to focus on local areas. It is local representatives who understand the pressures faced up and down the country, as well as the needs and aspirations of local communities. We need to draw on the innovation, civic energy and problem solving capacity that can be mobilised by local government, local communities and local leaders.

“Ahead of the Autumn Budget next month, it is simply unacceptable that councils currently have no certainty as to how they will be funded beyond 2020. We should be talking about local government sustainability, not local government self-sufficiency, and giving councils the funding model they deserve.”

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