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Combined Authority responds to Ed Miliband's devolution plans

Responding to Ed Miliband’s announcement that Labour plans to give more power and money to Leeds City Region and other city regions outside London, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Cllr Peter Box said,

“By forming the Combined Authority and bringing together the county’s key decision-making bodies we have created an organisation that places West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region and the City of York, in a stronger position to fulfil their potential and become the "economic powerhouses" Ed Miliband describes.

“Labour’s proposals to give us control over how additional business rate revenue is spent and the release of government funding for regional employment, transport and housing schemes would enable us to work together to get the best for our communities, boosting jobs and growth.

“It devolves power from Whitehall and places decisions in the hands of people who understand the specific local challenges and how to overcome them.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Board Member said,

“The joint private and public sector approach that the LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority have taken, and which Mr Miliband endorsed in his speech today, puts us in the strongest position to stimulate business growth and enable the Leeds City Region to become a net contributor to the public purse.

“We are anticipating the outcome of our bid to government for our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), an ambitious but credible agenda to deliver extraordinary and sustained good growth, generating tens of thousands of jobs and ensuring that the region plays a leading role in rebalancing the national economy. Given the pounds and the powers to implement this Plan, the Leeds City Region will become the economic powerhouse of the North.”

In his speech Ed Miliband pledged to boost economic growth outside London devolve £30 billion of spending to the English regions over the course of the next Parliament.

Speaking at a Leeds air conditioning factory, Mr Miliband said a Labour government would give local authorities and local enterprise partnerships any additional business rate revenue generated by growth to reinvest in their areas.

He said, “In an area, you should be able to keep 100% of the business rates that are generated. If you grow your businesses in your area over five or 10 years by investing that money in skills and infrastructure and making sure your businesses succeed, that money shouldn’t be grabbed back by central Government, it should be kept by the local authorities.

“That gives local authorities an incentive to ensure there is growth in an area and it means there are resources that they can then reinvest.”

A review on growth generation carried out by Lord Adonis recommends that local councils in England should come together to form a series of ‘regional economic powerhouses’.

‘Combined authorities are better placed to tackle entrenched problems of poor skills, infrastructure and economic development, says Lord Adonis’ review.
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