Government grants 20 more City Deals
By Colin Marrs Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Cities including Brighton and Hove, Leicester and Preston are amongst 20 cities a regions handed more powers from central government under the second wave of City Deals, announced today.
In October, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced a bidding process for a second wave of City Deals to follow the first wave announced in July.
And last night, in a speech at Mansion House, Clegg said that all 20 bids for the second round had been successful.
He said: "Even more places will be free from Whitehall control and have the tools to power their own growth. These deals help cities and their wider areas make once in a generation changes that will be felt by everyone across their region."
The city regions given the new powers are The Black Country, Brighton and Hove, Coventry, Cambridge, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton, Plymouth, Preston, Reading, Southend, Sunderland, Stoke, Swindon, Bournemouth and Poole and the Tees Valley.
The first wave of deals covered the eight biggest city regions in the UK. This second wave includes the 14 next-largest city regions, along with the six fastest growing city regions outside London.
The government said it would now negotiate the exact powers to be devolved with each of the successful bidders over coming months.
It said that powers could include greater autonomy over capital pots, or the ability to create combined pots, in return for reforms by the councils to drive growth.
Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, welcomed the announcement but called the government to accelerate the pace and scale of devolution.
He said: "There is clearly varying degrees of buy-in from different government departments. We hope that the March Budget will carry through the promise of the Autumn Statement by confirming that all of the tools and levers needed to drive local growth will be made available to councils, local businesses and their partners."
In his speech, Clegg also urged further city regions to come forward to demand the devolution of powers.
He said: "The momentum in this agenda is now unstoppable. The first two waves show that the coalition is determined to give real powers back to communities who show they will make good use of it – and that applies to every part of the country."