Laura Sharman 12 October 2015

Businesses call for greater influence over devolution

Businesses should have a greater role to play in the devolution of power to local authorities to deliver ‘genuine localism’ according to a new paper published today.

According to EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, some local authorities are asking for devolution to gain more power and control rather than to achieve growth. It also calls the relationship between businesses and local authorities as 'weak' and in need of improvement.

The paper for an amendment to Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill to give greater powers given to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and for devolution to be focused on areas where successful outcomes can be delivered in the near term.

The paper also calls for local authorities to prioritise the devolution of transport in their negotiations with Government.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: ‘The devolution of power to local areas in England must not be seen as an end in itself but a process aimed at tailoring local business environments to make them better places for business growth. Ultimately, local decision makers and businesses will need a sustained dialogue on how they can make their local areas places in which businesses can prosper.”

'To date, however, business has felt disengaged from the process of devolution, which. For it in England to succeed, business must be fully signed up as partners in the negotiation and delivery of devolution deals.’

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