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Think tank warns local growth constrained by piecemeal strategies

On the day of the publication of the Local Government Association Green Paper on Local Growth, (Wednesday 27 June) think tank IPPR North called for greater co-ordination of economic development powers at the local level in order for a return to growth to happen in areas where unemployment is rising.

IPPR North warn that there is an urgent need for a combined effort to deliver local growth following official figures released last week showing that the number of unemployed people compared to a year ago is up 23 per cent in the North East (27,000 more people unemployed) and up 17 per cent in the North West (48,000 more people unemployed).

New analysis by IPPR North reveals that economic development powers at the local level are controlled by 13 separate institutions of which only seven involve local authorities. The report argues that the numerous partnerships, quangos and agencies operated by central government at a variety of different geographical scales in England are ineffective for delivering economic growth.

The report also highlights research showing that devolving economic development powers to England's core cities could create a million new jobs outside London and the South East.

The analysis appears in a report prepared by IPPR North for the Northern Economic Futures Commission published today. The report argues that there needs to be much greater co-ordination of economic development through combined authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and ultimately, metro mayors.

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North said:

“There needs to be a joint effort to deliver strategies that really work at the local level so we can see unemployment fall in places like the North East and North West which continue to feel the effects of recession in the rising numbers of people unemployed.

“After the rejection of city mayors in the recent referendum, we know that what works in one area isn’t necessarily right elsewhere and there should be flexibility about how powers to deliver economic developed should be devolved to suit different city regions.

“But one thing is clear, the current mess left through the abolition of regional bodies is confusing for businesses and investors and is inhibiting economic recovery in the north.”

Notes to Editors:

IPPR North’s report is published today, Wednesday 27 June 2012 and is available to download from the IPPR North website:
http://www.ippr.org/?siteid=ipprnorth

The most recent unemployment figures are available from:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Labour+Market

IPPR North’s Northern Economic Summary: June 2012 is available from:
http://www.ippr.org/articles/56/9239/northern-economic-summary-june-2012?siteid=ipprnorth

IPPR North’s interim report of the Northern Economic Futures Commission is available from:
http://ippr.org/publications/55/8992/northern-prosperity-is-national-prosperity-nefc-interim-report

Contact:
Tamsin Crimmens 07800 742 262 / 0191 233 9051 /
t.crimmens@ippr.org

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