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Devolution deal for West Midlands marks a step forward for social justice, not just economic growth – IPPR North

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, reacted to the new devolution agreement for the West Midlands.
 
“As well as the obvious benefits devolution can bring in terms of harnessing economic growth, what’s most welcome about this announcement is the wide-ranging measures that can help some of the most disadvantaged people in society.

“These powers will help tackle some of the biggest social challenges facing the country – addressing the housing crisis, supporting those furthest from the jobs market find work and helping people with multiple and complex needs.

“Reforming public services and growing local economies are two sides of the same coin, and this deal is testament to that.”

On the devolution deal for Liverpool, Ed Cox added:

“Liverpool becoming the latest city region to secure a devolution deal shows the momentum is firmly behind our Victorian cities shaping their destiny and creating a Northern Powerhouse.

“The five combined authority areas now must focus on how they work together across boundaries, so the whole of the north can be greater than the sum of its parts and act as one economy.

“But the real prize that remains is fiscal devolution – the ability for our northern cities to be able to raise and spend their own revenues.

“The powers over business rates are a welcome step in the right direction, but local leaders need the powers and incentives to create greater prosperity with a wider suite of tax-raising powers.”

View report:

http://www.ippr.org/files/publications/pdf/empowering-counties_Nov2015.pdf?noredirect=1

Contact
Danny Wright – d.wright@ippr.org 07887 422789

Notes to Editors

A number of IPPR recommendations have been taken forward in the West Midlands devolution deal, namely through our strategy for social renewal, The Condition of Britain, and Decentralisation Decade, our blueprint for devolution to all English regions, devolving powers from across all government departments.

We have previously called for:

  • Devolving and pooling resources for adult skills, bringing together various agencies and their expertise at Combined Authority level to co-ordinate adult skills and apprenticeships.
  • Devolved control of the Work Programme, to cover economic geographies and a job guarantee to prevent long-term unemployment, and focus on supporting long-term jobseekers and those recovering from temporary health conditions.
  • An extended Troubled Families programme to mobilise and coordinate local efforts to address the deep social exclusion experienced by a minority of adults.
  • New powers to unblock stalled sites so that land can be used for housing, including designating ‘new homes zones’, and devolved multi-year housing funds for combined authorities to meet the affordable housing needs of their areas.
  • Pursuing a devolved approach to youth justice, by extending the remit of youth offending teams to those aged up to 20, in order to provide locally-led, integrated support to help keep young adult offenders out of prison.
  • Re-regulation of bus franchise set by local areas in our recent report Total transport authorities: http://www.ippr.org/publications/total-transport-authorities-a-new-deal-for-town-and-rural-bus-services
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