MAKING SURE EVERYONE HAS A SHARE IN RISING NATIONAL PROSPERITY
There is still much to do to make sure people in all parts of our country have a share in the nation’s rising prosperity. The economic recovery currently benefits certain areas of the country more than others, such as London and the South East, which account for around 19 per cent of jobs, 21 per cent of businesses and 25 per cent of economic output.
Local areas also need good infrastructure and transport to be successful both for businesses and local residents. Our roads are crumbling whilst at the same time, more people than ever before are using them. The country currently has a £12 billion backlog of repairs and one in five roads is classed as being in poor condition.
OUR PLANS WOULD PLACE COUNCILS FIRMLY AT THE HEART OF COMMUNITIES AND HELP ENSURE GROWING PROSPERITY IS SHARED BY EVERYONE. THERE WILL ALSO BE AN AFFORDABLE, LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO FIXING THE NATION’S ROADS.
To be able to do this, the new government must:
In the first Queen’s Speech
Announce a new Public Services Bill that will:
• Enable everyone to contribute to and benefit from local growth by devolving economic powers through councils to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) so they can coordinate and boost the delivery of jobs, housing and growth in all areas.
• Give all councils in England the same traffic management powers as London and Wales to reduce the costs, emissions and disruption from congestion.
Announce a new Fiscal Devolution Bill to:
• Allow councils to set locally appropriate fees, charges and subsidies (including public transport subsidies and planning fees) enabling councils to support those who need it most.
• Let councils set rates and discounts for council tax and business rates so they can better respond to local circumstances.
• Let councils retain 100 per cent of business rates growth without a corresponding cut in revenue support grant, further incentivising councils to grow local economies.
In the first Budget
The Chancellor will:
• Replace the Barnett formula with a system of distribution for the countries of the UK based on need and more appropriate and relevant incentives.
• Devolve all funding for local growth, regeneration, skills and employment support through councils to LEPs, replacing the current system of more than 100 funding streams so investment decisions can be based directly on what businesses need to create jobs.
• Inject £1 billion a year into a much-needed programme to address the pothole backlog by investing 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty to fix our roads.
In the first 100 days
The new government will:
• Confirm that communities which choose to extract shale gas in their area will receive up to 10 per cent of the revenue from sales.
• Announce the establishment of an independent body for the distribution of funding to councils.
Councils are delivering schemes to foster local growth:
Northamptonshire County Council
• When the British Grand Prix came under threat a few years ago, Northamptonshire County Council stepped in to assure the investment needed by Silverstone with a £10 million secured loan. Losing the Grand Prix would have had a £6 billion impact on the national economy. Instead, the loan led to the provision of almost 800 jobs. The council also offered a £1.5 million revenue contribution to the ‘Silverstone Masterplan’ which involved the creation of a high performance technologies business ecosystem which could deliver over 4,000 new jobs.
Sunderland City Council
• As part of Sunderland City Council’s ‘Economic Masterplan’ to draw on its strengths as a location for automotive manufacturing and components supply chain companies, the council entered into more than 18 months of intensive talks with the Lear Corporation USA. As a result it opened its first UK foam manufacturing plant in March 2012, bringing 300 jobs to Sunderland in its first three years and strengthening the manufacturing sector in the northeast.
Hertsmere Borough Council
• In the 1990s, Hertsmere Borough Council purchased Elstree Studios, the site where the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies were produced, after years of neglect had left it derelict. The council invested £5.5 million to build two new state of the art sound stages, which attracted renowned productions such as The King’s Speech and Strictly Come Dancing and generated rental income in excess of £11 million. The council is now funding the studio’s expansion by investing £2.5 million of its own resources and borrowing £2 million.