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Councils call for devolved powers

Words: Laura Edgar

County councils yesterday called for a set of devolved powers that could transform what counties are able to contribute to the UK’s economy.

The County Councils Network has laid out its Our Plan For Government. It proposes a bold new relationship between central and local government, centred on a new Core Settlement, extensive fiscal devolution and reforms to Local Enterprise Partnerships to improve the levels of economic growth.

Through the devolving of funding across skills, employment and planning, as well as greater powers to reinvest the proceeds of growth locally, the group’s Our Plan For Government explains that councils will be able to build on local growth plans, including the creation of 132,900 homes.

The publication of Our Plan For Government comes after a ResPublica report suggested that Manchester should be the first completely devolved city in England and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg backed the devolution of powers to cities when he launched the IPPR North report, Decentralisation Decade.

CCN’s Our Plan For Government explains that as counties have more new business registrations per 10,000 head of population in comparison with the Core Cities, they should be in a position to support this economic resource.

CCN believes the plan makes a “compelling” case for English councils to have powers devolved to them. The group’s chairman, David Hodge, said: “The logic of devolution and that local decisions are best made by local communities does not stop at Hadrian’s Wall. The passionate debates in Scotland around what devolution could achieve, whatever the outcome for the referendum, show what more county areas and cities can contribute to the UK if given the right tools.”

Our Plan for Government can be found on the company’s website: http://www.countycouncilsnetwork.org.uk/

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