Preston is one of a number of cities outside of London calling on the government for more powers.Advertisement
A new report, launched at the Conservative party Autumn conference in Manchester, outlines how cities such as Preston are crucial to ensuring the economic recovery continues.
The Missing Multipliers: Devolution to Britain’s Mid-Sized Cities makes the case for more fiscal powers for the likes of Derby, Coventry and Preston.
Councillor Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, welcomed the report.
He 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 and as a country, the UK simply cannot afford to miss such a golden opportunity.”
The City Deal referenced by Cllr Rankin is a £430 million investment in the area with major new roads and housing being built in the next ten years.
Figures behind the report show the financial clout of cities such as Preston is being underestimated.
Phillip Blond, who authored the report and is director of think-tank ResPublica, said: “With a combined GVA of £163 billion and a population of 7.9 million, the Key Cities make a vital contribution to their regions and to the national economy. Together they represent 11% of the UK Economy (13% of England’s total GVA) and contain some of the fastest growing cities by GVA; Milton Keynes, Bournemouth and Cambridge, for instance, are all growing faster than the national average.”
Conservative elder-Statesman, and one of the architects of the City Deal, Lord Heseltine, said: “The devolution agenda is gathering pace. Over the past five years we have witnessed the beginning of a process to reverse the centralisation of decades.
“I welcome reports such as ResPublica’s “The Missing Multipliers: Devolution to Britain’s Key Cities” because they add to the momentum and widen the horizons of all those involved in the process.”
What do you make of the report? Should greater powers be devolved to Preston and other cities? Let us know in the comments below