Localis: Hit reset button with Whitehall and plot fresh roadmap for local prosperity and national renewal

Thursday May 16th, 2019

A renewed relationship of trust and respect is needed between local and central government if we are to restore economic purpose and provide long-term and funded answers to key social pinch-points across the country, Localis has reported (May 16th).Government Opportunities

In a report entitled ‘Hitting Reset – a case for local leadership’ the think-tank argues that providing financial resources for economic investment, freedom to raise local revenues to fund vital local services and a transfer of powers from Whitehall to local level are vital to rebuilding a strong local state capable of rebalancing the national economy.

Among key recommendations, Localis calls for the establishment of a British Investment Bank that would enable regional productivity to be democratically accountable and for the next Spending Review to set out a replacement to EU funding until 2025.

Localis also calls for a Royal Commission into fiscal devolution as the first step to providing long-term surety of resources, empowering the local state to drive vital place-based economic and social reforms. In the shorter term, the report makes the case for universal freedoms allowing local authorities to set council tax levels and keep full business rates revenues.

The report also argues local leaders should be given greater control to direct at a place-based level the shape of national reforms in areas such as health and social care, welfare, training and skills provision.

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “The country is sleepwalking into a second lost decade by default. Unless we reconfigure our political economy to give our localities the resources, powers and funding required to achieve their full potential, the last three years of ‘Brexit’ water torture will have been in vain.

“A reset in how our localities relate to Whitehall and Westminster will be a vital first step to renewal from the ground-up and to restoring a sense of pride and purpose between our places, people and the greater nation.”

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