Sam Clayden 30 June 2016

Report calls for financing restrictions on combined authorities to be lifted

Local authorities should be given greater access to ‘flexible financing streams’ to enable them to invest in infrastructure and the skills to deliver it, a new report has said.

State of the Nation: Devolution report, published by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) has urged the Government to keep devolution at the forefront of political debate amid post-referendum negotiations in order to prevent the agenda being left behind.

It argues an infrastructure strategy based on need should be established for every current and emerging economic area so money is directed towards the right projects.

ICE's vice president, Adrian Coy, insisted infrastructure investment remained the ‘driving force’ behind the Government’s plans to rebalance the economy.

He said: ‘We hope to see ongoing commitment to the devolution agenda during the EU exit negotiations, so momentum is not lost.

‘Effective infrastructure can boost economic growth, create jobs, regenerate communities, connect people and places and drive environmental sustainability.

‘Combined authorities must now take the helm and deliver these benefits locally.’

A think tank leader told The MJ Brexit could spark a turning point for the devolution agenda.

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