Report Launch: Clearing the Hurdles with Brandon Lewis MP

Author: Localis   |  

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Localis’ latest report, Clearing the Hurdles, was launched at a private debate with Brandon Lewis MP, Communities and Local Government Minister on 11th October.

There was an interesting and engaging discussion surrounding the recommendations of the report:

The headline recommendation of the report is for the Government to grant local areas much greater financial freedoms, which will allow them to increase investment in local infrastructure and the wider local economy, arguing that the Government should:

  • Establish a commission to investigate how local fiscal autonomy could generate funding for growth ? for example introducing new revenue streams such as hotel bedroom taxes and road charging (where there is local support)
  • Support a local authority collective bond issuing agency, to provide cheaper infrastructure finance
  • Significantly expand the Single Local Growth Fund from 2016 to give local partners the scale and the freedom to kickstart local economic growth

The report also covers transport, housing & planning and, drawing on South East examples, calls on Government to:

  • Give cities, shires & towns equal access to the freedoms and flexibilities necessary to meet their growth potential
  • Provide local authorities with powers to tackle landbanking, for example, introducing ‘use it or lose it’ powers to revoke planning permissions and allowing councils the option of levying charges on stalled developments
  • Allow local authorities to bid for control of sections of the Highways Agency network

Finally, with a successful rollout of superfast broadband essential to growth, the report recommends that in its late 2013 review, Ofcom should investigate whether the current regulatory framework is holding back local areas from developing their own superfast broadband solutions, and thus, local growth potential.

This project was kindly supported by South East England Councils