Localis response to ‘Build, Build, Build’ speech
Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “The prime minister’s heavily-trailed speech promised to resolve a whole series of domestic agenda items from a failed housing and planning system, skills deficiency, social care neglect as well as the vexed issues of productivity and connectivity between different parts of the country.
“In this context, the levelling up programme now becomes a pivotal ‘win or lose’ moment for national renewal.
“In this analysis, the problems of the post-war British state are to be tackled by cutting through systemic delay that has added costs to building homes and obstructing the vital physical and digital infrastructure underpinning growth and innovation.
“To ‘build back better’ the local states need funds for – and powers to raise – strategic investment in placemaking, particularly in the Midlands where local economies could reap dividends from increased innovation capture and graduate retention.
“In this national effort, local government needs a clear and defined strategic role to build on its existing expertise to combine the jobs stimulus required to address the impact of Covid-19 lockdown with the deeper and longer-term regional investment the levelling up agenda calls into play.
“Central government must use the English Devolution White Paper to create a pathway for the local state to deliver infrastructure at pace and fund pipeline development, clearing aside the delay and obstruction brought about by the need for local areas to canvass, cap in hand, different central government departments for capital investment on a case-by-case basis.”