Kevin richardson central local relations northumbria march 2011
Central : Local Relations in 2011• Economic Geography & Local Enterprise Partnerships• The Localism Bill Kevin Richardson www.slideshare.net/30088
Economic Geography: Localism or Renationalisation?• ‘Rebalancing’ of economy (by sector, public / private and local place)• Abolition of RDAs, Integrated Regional Strategies, Regional Funding Allocations, Business Link, Primary Care Trusts, Audit Commission, Regional Tourism, Government Offices• New Forms of local finance: New Homes Bonus, Business Rates Bonus, Local Government Finance Review and ‘free’ councils, Tax Increment Financing & Enterprise Zones• But effective renationalisation of: Single Programme to (national) Regional Growth Fund, venture capital, (e.g. Jeremie), business support, tourism, inward investment, international trade, technology & sector policy, transport investments, employment programmes, EU funding etc• Local Enterprise Partnerships
LEPS: An early critique• Assessed by the centre against which criteria?• ‘Functional economic areas’ or numerical / administrative simplicity?• Economic growth or sustainable development?• Doing or thinking? Making difficult strategic choices?• Accountable? To whom? Managing probity? FOI?• Maintaining interest with no dedicated money, powers, functions, or hard status
“So I can announce today that we aretaking on the enemies of enterprise.The bureaucrats in governmentdepartments who concoct thoseridiculous rules and regulations thatmake life impossible, particularly forsmall firms.The town hall officials who take foreverwith those planning decisions that canbe make or break for a business - andthe investment and jobs that go with it.The public sector procurementmanagers who think that the answer toeverything is a big contract with a bigbusiness and who shut out millions ofBritains small and medium sizedcompanies from a massive potentialmarket”
Localism Bill• General Power of Competence ‘so that (Councils) may do anything that an individual generally may do, other than that which is specifically prohibited’• Abolition of Standards Board• Localisation of (90% of) Council Tax Benefit• Directly (imposed) Elected Mayors• Local (non binding) referendums• Neighbourhood Planning• Community Assets• Community Right to Challenge
Localism Bill: An early critique•Financial cuts as driver but not the primary objective•Most proposals well trailored over recent months. Forthcoming furtherlegislation / guidance needed to complete picture e.g. ModernisingCommissioning.•Setting councils free? Cutting red tape? Over 140 proposals for newregulations, order making powers, duties, statutory guidance andrequirements on local authorities.•Continuation / escalation of longer term bipartisan broad trend; CCT, BestValue, Elected Mayors, Double Devolution, duty to cooperate, financialreform, supplementary business rates, Community Infrastructure Levy, LyonsReview, Participatory Democracy, end of regionalism, Total Place etc•Bill going through Committee Stage very quickly.•Scale & scope of short run impacts probably highly dependent upon place(N/S, rich/poor etc) and existence of single controversial issues•More fundamental challenges for local authorities in the medium / longer term
Ongoing Challenges (Local / Sub National)• Councils as enablers or direct actors? Active or passive support / opposition?• How to develop sufficient social / cultural capital in all parts of the city and across communities identity / interest. Ensuring Neighbourhood Plans are not just about land use• Dealing with huge cuts / Big Society / privatisation.• Dealing directly with central government – with far fewer intermediaries. As seen from the centre – (variably) risk averse local government; of limited & reduced capacity, leverage, freedoms and leadership(?)• From grants to transfer of risked based investment e.g. Tax Increment Financing?• From fuzzy boundaries of city-regions to confused boundaries; what relationships between Elected Mayors, LEPs, Police Commissioners, Transport Authorities, GP Commissioning Consortia, Work Programme, EU Programmes – each with a different boundary. In absence of sub national spatial strategies, what future for cross boundary working e.g. housing, transport etc?• Dealing with the inevitable spatial implications of (national) space neutral sector policies. Will the private sector save us?
Ongoing Challenges (National)• Monetary policy: by definition global/ (inter) national; and effectively suspended• Fiscal policy historically severe: no spatial element and/or Keynesian interventionism• Unresolved reconciliation of (neo-liberal) supply side ‘people’ & firm economics with economic importance and political transparency of ‘place’ economics• Investing in places of growth and opportunity; or in places of need regardless of opportunity; in places where people want growth or where growth is not wanted? Jobs to people? Or people to jobs?• Much local delivery through agents of national government (universities, colleges, highways, Job Centre Plus, Skills Funding Agency etc) all driven by central demands; lacking legitimacy to make difficult spatial decisions• Departmentalism: what real traction from depleted departments of central government; of CLG compared to HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, DWP.• Anyway around TUPE? EU Procurement Regulations etc?• Who is responsible / accountable for the next ‘Baby P’?