Thomas Bridge 09 February 2015

Devolution to cities could raise £222bn, says think tank

Cities with stronger powers over tax and spending could raise an extra £222bn for the country by 2030, a report claims.

Think tank ResPublica today raised calls for creation of a Devolution Agency within 100 days of the next parliament to oversee and drive forward sharing of power to the country’s Core Cities.

Proposals in Restoring Britain’s City States say the country’s largest urban areas should be allowed to retain property taxes and council tax, while holding onto a slice of local income tax and control of business rates.

The think tank pushed for a single city region to volunteer to be part of a pilot programme that will examine whether economic decline across the UK can be reversed through devolution of variable income and corporate tax rates.

If the pilot proves successful, ResPublica said measures should be extended to all city regions by 2020.

Plans also demanded every region be granted a ‘visible political figure’ with a metro mayor or elected City Region Cabinet.

Leaders from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield will today meet in Glasgow to discuss how more powers can be devolved to cities and their regions.

Report author and Director of ResPublica, Phillip Blond, said: ‘It’s time to change the old “one size fits all” model of centralised public services delivering the same thing to everybody regardless of need. It simply isn’t working for the Core Cities. They deserve a better, more integrated system, free of all external ring-fencing.

‘If we do this correctly the benefits to the public purse will be in the billions of pounds,’ he added.

For more on the Core Cities, visit The MJ (£).

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