Ellie Ames 07 November 2023

Manifesto push for statutory economic powers

Manifesto push for statutory economic powers image
Image: Number1411 / Shutterstock.com

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) has launched an ‘agenda for change’ with a continued call for councils to be given statutory duties on economic development.

The IED, which represents economic development and regeneration practitioners, unveiled a series of recommendations at its annual conference today.

The IED’s chair and chief executive of Salford City Council, Tom Stannard, said: ‘With the Government confirming its intention to transfer LEPs [local enterprise partnerships] to local government from April 2024, the pivotal economic role of councils for realising the country’s growth ambitions has been articulated.

‘Giving local authorities a legal duty over economic development would create a clear accountability structure, which in turn would make it simpler and more attractive to UK and international firms and financial institutions to invest in places.

‘It would also enable the development of local strategic economic development plans that respond to the views of local businesses, as well as the wider community.’

The IED said councils, led by upper tier authorities, should be required to develop five-year economic strategies.

The institute also called for competitive funding to be replaced with a single settlement funding pot based on ‘trailblazer’ devolution deals.

On net zero, it said there should be adequate funding and government support for place-based climate action; a partnership approach with local authorities, and reformed and devolved funding streams.

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