State of the City Address
Many organisations like the Centre for Cities, together with all the English Core Cities, have been campaigning long and hard to encourage Whitehall to allow us to have greater control over how the taxes we raise are used to deliver the best outcomes for local people.
We believe that we have an inarguable case – and our goal is the ensure that this is reflected in the manifestos of all three major political parties ahead of next year’s general election.
We make this case not because we because we believe cities should be independent of central government – but because we are a vital delivery partner for a government seeking to accelerate growth. Our cities are at the forefront of social and economic change. We have led the way on everything from manufacturing technology to public health. Cities can be the engines of growth but they must be freed from the shackles of government control if they are to truly reach their potential.
Here in Newcastle, and in all the other Core Cities, we are taking responsibility for shaping our own future. Together, through our ‘City Centred’ campaign we are making some fundamental requests to the Government:
- Extend the concept of the Local Growth Fund for capital funds – but make it big enough support cities and regions to make big decisions.
- Lift the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap so that cities can fund more housing development.
- Generate certainty with greater local control of public spending and budgets that are the length of parliaments.
- Devolve property taxes to cities and enable them to control other local taxes.
- Consider the formation of a Local Investment Bank across all the core cities
Core cities can be the standard bearers for a new way of thinking that benefit both central and local government, with new arrangements for shared accountability and joint responsibility.
By working together on shared priorities at the local level we can respond positively to the financial challenge to identify long-term commitments that allow us to plan and invest in better outcomes for our residents. We do this based on local knowledge of our own communities which cannot be matched by decision makers in distant Whitehall departments.