The End of Regions?What new role for cities?: the case of England Kevin Richardson email@example.com www.slideshare.net/30088
EU Context• EU Parliament / Committee of Regions; increased co-decision following TFEU – but what real power compared to EU Council?• Only limited examples of significant / constitutional regional government (AU, DE, BE?); exceptions often based on identity (Scotland, Cataluña etc)• Few (if any) examples of genuine functioning regional economies. Regional geography (often) defined by statistical (i.e. artificial) NUTS 1 boundaries (e.g. England, RO, PL, HU?)• Sufficient institutional capacity within DG REGIO to ‘manage’ growing number and widening characteristics of regions (including continued accession). New ‘regions’. Experiments with ‘macro’ and cross border ‘regions’ (Interreg / EGTC)• Regulations allow delegation of EU funds to cities…but rarely / not used• Trend away from grants and towards greater use of risk based investment finance (JESSICA, JEREMIE etc)
Bonfire of the Regions May 2010 (Con / Liberal)• Regional Development Agencies• Regional Spatial Strategies (inc. housing & transport)• Regional offices of Central Government• Regional Business Link (enterprise agencies)• Regional Funding Allocations• Regional Tourism Boards• Nationalisation of Employment Programmes and Inward Investment• Nationalisation of all funding for technology and regeneration, including European Social Fund
History: Regional Government in England• ‘14 – administrative / ‘military’ regions• ’79 – (CON) neo-liberalism, end of spatial strategies• ’94 – (CON) Government Offices for the Regions (GOs)• ’97 onwards – (LAB), formal regional government for Scotland, Wales & N Ireland; and indirectly (unelected) Regional Assemblies & many new regional strategies & institutions (including RDAs) in England• ’04 North East referendum farce (78% ‘No’; all 25 districts reject proposal for formal regional government, including Newcastle as a the Core City)
OECD Review of Newcastle in the North East (2006)• central government is the ‘dominant actor’ in regional development• no national spatial strategy for either regions or cities• only a small number of central departments engaged in regional development; most remain focussed on design, funding and delivery of standard services to people and firms regardless of their location• funds for regional economic development tiny when compared to other mainstream budgets• sub national agencies with only very limited authority & autonomy• existing artificial boundaries of institutions increasingly not reflective of functioning economic areas (at all levels of geography)• a ‘democratic deficit’ and a lack of public legitimacy in some of these agencies preventing those bodies from making difficult choices• public identities rooted much more in parochialism than regionalism
Sub National Review (Phase 2) ‘09- ‘10 (Labour)• The beginnings of renationalisation; e.g. Technology Strategy Board, Strategic Investment Fund, Business Support Simplification Project, UK Finance for Growth (UKFG), Capital for Enterprise, UK Innovation Investment Fund and (national) Regional Growth Funds• Abolition of regional Learning & Skills Councils, Cultural Consortia, Arts Councils• Creation of new national agencies e.g. Homes & Communities Agency, Technology Innovation Centres etc• top-slicing’ of RDA budgets e.g. to pay for housing investments in the South East and ‘Accelerated Development Zones’• Meanwhile, major investments in Thames Gateway, Crossrail, 2012 Olympics, Heathrow airport, & High Speed Rail 2 (London – Birmingham)
The New ‘Localism’• ‘Rebalancing’: North/South, rich/poor, public/private, service / manufacturing• Localism Bill (directly elected Mayors, neighbourhood planning, community assets)• Local Councils or Local Places / People? 27% cut in budgets for local councils over 4 years, impact of community right to challenge?• New forms of ‘local finance’ e.g. New Homes Bonus, Business Rates Bonus, Big Society Bank, Green Investment Fund, Tax Increment Financing, (national) ‘Regional’ Growth Fund and Enterprise Zones (tax breaks)• (Part time junior) Minister for (all) ‘Cities’• Local Enterprise Partnerships
LEPs and Cities• No status, powers, functions, democratic accountability or money• Functioning economic areas or administrative simplicity for weakened central departments?• Doing or thinking? Making difficult choices?• Growth, Enterprise & Jobs or sustainable development?• What future for cross boundary working?• Cities as one equal partner amongst many!
What Role for Cities?• Does it matter? NEG tells us that growth and the market is increasingly (inter) dependent on cities (see Krugman et al)• Understanding ‘trade offs’ between supporting agglomeration and high speed rail (between cities) and, (for now) local cost air travel• Planning to building the ‘urban core’; why facilitate travel to work by car?• Any real hope within informal partnerships? But what genuine political interest or benefit in hard administrative / boundary reform? (at all levels)• A false dichotomy between national and local levels (towards shared design, management & delivery)?• Or towards a contractual relationship based on evidence / results / rewards (see Barca (2009)?• Risk based investment capital favours cities; e.g. the ‘C’ in JESSICA• SMART strategies for growth also dependent on cities (and their universities) (see McCann (2011)
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