Headlines: November 3rd, 2010

The Government is being urged to think again about proposals which would see powers formerly held by Regional Development Agencies switched to Whitehall departments. The call has come from the New Local Government Network in its response to plans for 24 Local Enterprise Partnerships. 
NLGN said the new bodies would create a chance for bold new cross-boundary collaboration but said the Government should look again at whether the new bodies should have a clearer strategic control over areas, such as skills funding and inward investment. It welcomed moves for a locally led approach to transport, housing and strategic planning and the confirmation that the Government would make Tax Incremental Financing available for new investment to support economic growth.
NLGN Senior Researcher, Nick Hope said: “There is much to be welcomed in the Government’s agenda, especially around Tax Increment Financing, and the wider roles envisaged for LEPs in areas such as planning. However, denying these partnerships any powers over areas such as skills commissioning and employment programmes, will leave them without a hold on vital levers to stimulate and coordinate growth.”
NLGN also welcomed plans for twelve new elected Mayors for England’s largest cities. It believes that with their clear visibility and accountability, directly elected mayors could have a unique mandate to provide powerful leadership in their areas.