Preston Council welcomes devolution bid

Peter Rankin
Peter Rankin
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Devolution to cities such as Preston is the future, according to a business report which has been welcomed by Preston Council.

“The Missing Multipliers: Devolution to Britain’s Mid-sized Cities” was launched at this year’s Tory party autumn conference.

Key cities like Preston have a fundamental role to play in growing the UK economy. Yet just like the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal shows it requires a real shift from Government to allow key cities like Preston to raise their game and fulfil their true potential.

Peter Rankin,

Commissioned by Key Cities from think tank ResPublica, the report says that middle-sized cities could be key to the Government’s drive to generate economic growth and public service transformation.

It makes the case for granting mid-sized cities such as Preston, significant fiscal powers to transform their ability to invest in essential public services. Allowing cities to retain a greater proportion of tax revenue they generate would increase their ability to stimulate economic growth, attract businesses and deliver better services for residents.

It says this would ensure that Preston Council is more accountable to local residents for the money it raises and how it is spent.

As a member of the Key Cities Group, Preston Council is seeking a commitment that the new Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill will enable the fullest possible devolution of funding and powers to all cities, towns and counties, including over tax raising powers. It is calling on the Government to agree five year funding settlements options.

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “Key cities like Preston have a fundamental role to play in growing the UK economy. Yet just like the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal shows it requires a real shift from Government to allow key cities like Preston to raise their game and fulfil their true potential. We are seeing the wheels of devolution starting to turn but we must ensure this momentum is sustained and reaches key cities as well as major ones. The economic, social and community benefits are huge.”