Cities team up to demand greater spending freedoms

Tue 1st October 2013, 12:25 pm

London has joined up with the rest of Englandís largest cities to demand devolution of a number of taxes from central government in order to spark growth.

Boris Johnson: call for greater spending freedoms

The move follows the publication in May of the London Finance Commission report, Raising the Capital, which outlined detailed proposals for fiscal reform in the capital.

Now London mayor Boris Johnson has teamed up with the Core Cities group (representing Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield) to call for a coordinated approach.

Johnson, said: “That London’s government is joining with England’s largest cities to call for change is an historic and significant move. It’s a partial but positive and practical answer to the conundrum about English devolution and I believe it is good not just for the cities involved but for the country at large.”

He said that giving greater powers to city authorities would end “stop-start finance settlements” and help provide a reliable funding stream to enable investment.

Sir Richard Leese, chair of the Core Cities cabinet and leader of Manchester City Council, said: “England’s great cities have a proud tradition of independence and ambition.

"Yet our ability to act on that ambition has been eroded as central state control of our finances has increased year on year.”

He said that the core cities and London represent more than half of the national economy and almost half the population, but only control around five per cent of the taxes raised within their boundaries.

The campaign says that its proposals would be cost neutral at the point of devolution, with no additional money being sought from the national pot beyond what the cities already receive.

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