Laura Sharman 18 June 2018

Councils warn about ‘damaging’ economic development funding cuts

Councils warn about ‘damaging’ economic development funding cuts  image

One in seven local authorities have had their funding for economic development cut over the past five years, according to new research.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) found more than a third (38%) of councils have seen their budget cut by more than 25%, while a further 32% said that it had fallen by less than a quarter.

Only 10% of those surveyed said they are expecting an increase in economic development funding as a direct result of retaining business rates, with 37% warning no new funding will be made available.

The IED said this research raises serious questions about councils’ ability to meet the aspirations of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Executive director of the IED, Nigel Wilcock, said: ‘The Industrial Strategy represents a watershed moment for economic development and delivering the strategy and associated policies is a vitally important activity within the UK.

'Yet any amount of wishful economic development thinking from government will be undeliverable if the resources of local delivery agencies are being cut to the point where they will be unable to turn the broad-brush strategy into tangible outputs.’

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