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  Local Government Cities And-Regions

This policy theme includes our work on the devolution and regional economic disparities and development. The economic downturn is exacerbating the gap between London (and the Greater Southeast) and other areas of the UK. Set against this backdrop we are continuing our work on city-regions, economic geography and localism.

Project partners include: Tony Travers, Sir Michael Lyons, Professor John Tomaney, Peter Hetherington, One North East, Advantage West Midlands, Yorkshire Forward, Regional Studies Association, Core Cities, Local Government Yorkshire and Humber, Centre for Cities, Department for Communities and Local Government.

Making the most of housing and growth in the East Midlands: a report on removing the barriers to low public investment in the region
The research in this report shows, short-changing the East Midlands when it has so much to offer in terms of jobs and growth and in rebalancing the economy makes no sense whatsoever. This report offers an intelligent and timely insight into why this has happened. The East Midlands has suffered disproportionate cuts in housing and regeneration funding and has been overlooked in respect of central government support for manufacturing. The authors do not make a special case for the region; instead (on the basis of the evidence) they ask why the East Midlands is losing out and, most importantly, what can be done to change the situation.

Changing Gear – Is Localism the New Regionalism?
This collection of essays explores the government’s shift away from regionalism to local economic development. The chapters examine at issues around governance structures, planning, housing and competition between places as well as specific looks at Wales, Scotland and London. The consensus amongst the expert authors is that without proper resources the new system of Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) will lack the scale and scope to foster the economic growth needed in the regions and need greater clarity of purpose. 

The Case for Consensus: Reforming local government finance
As the first stage of the local government resource review comes to a conclusion and following Nick Clegg’s recent intervention this timely report makes the case for reform of the business rate regime, but in a way that promotes localism and incentivises growth without hitting support for the poorest areas. As the authors make clear any long lasting settlement has to create a wide political consensus both nationally and locally.

Rebalancing the Economy: Prospects for the North - Report of the ‘fair deal for the North’ inquiry undertaken by the Smith Institute
Without strong delivery structures, sufficient resources and a lasting commitment to tackling inter-regional disparities, the prospects for the North look worryingly bleak, according to research published today by the Smith Institute in association with PwC and Newcastle University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies. ‘Rebalancing the economy: prospects for the North’ provides a detailed analysis of past and present policies to tackle regional inequalities. Based on discussions with 150 stakeholders across England’s three northern regions, the report concludes that the North is being disproportionately hit by spending cuts and job losses, and that there is a risk that the private sector may not be able to compensate for this quickly or fully. It also recommends creating a new voice for the North in the form of a strategic ‘Council for the North’, involving councils, business, universities and other stakeholders. The Council could develop a strategic plan for the North, like the London Plan, and prioritise housing and transport investments. The report sets out the case for greater government support for the North, including new grants for business investment in declining industrial areas, a northern infrastructure fund, and locating the new Big Society Bank in the North.

The Future of Regional Policy
This monograph takes a fresh look at the state of the English regions and the contribution that regional policy makes towards improving economic prosperity and social well-being. The authors offer our politicians and policy makers an alternative regional policy agenda, which draws on past experience and the lessons learned from other countries. This publication builds on the influential work the Smith Institute has undertaken on individual English regions, and follows on from collections of essays we have published on devolution, regeneration, housing and growth, Europe, trade policy and sustainability. Includes chapters by Professor John Tomaney, Professor Ron Martin FBA, Professor Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Professor Joan Fitzgerald, Peter Hetherington, and Professor Susan Christopherson. 2009

The Future of the Regions
This series of publications takes forward our work on regional policy by looking at regionalism from the viewpoint of the region itself, rather than from a national policy perspective. By so doing we hope to promote greater awareness of the complexities of, distinct opportunities for, and challenges facing each region, not least among key stakeholders, opinion formers and decision makers inside and outside the region. Our intention is to raise the level of debate and to highlight what policy changes – locally, regionally, subregionally and nationally – are needed to make a real and lasting difference. So far we have looked at the West Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber. The series has included chapters from regional ministers, chief executives of RDAs and key stakeholders from the regions. 2009

Working Together: Transformational leadership for city growth
This collection comprises essays by leaders of eight city councils (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield), co-authored with leaders from industry, higher education, the community and the voluntary sector. Each demonstrates the renaissance of our core cities in recent years as exciting places to live, work and visit. However, all the authors acknowledge the difficult challenges facing our major cities, which include: education, skills and training; improving transport networks between and within city regions; climate change and carbon reduction; increasing capital investment and engaging the private sector; and innovation and harnessing intellectual capital. Includes chapters by Sir Michael Lyons, Chris Murray, Councillor Mike Whitby, Professor Michael Parkinson, Sir Richard Leese, Dr Cathy Garner, Councillor John Shipley OBE, and Sir Robert Kerslake. 2007

Real Localism
It is quite remarkable how broad the political consensus for local devolution and decentralisation has become. You hear few politicians or policy makers today arguing that “Whitehall knows best” or that the nation would be better served by taking powers away from local councils. The authors in this monograph in different ways demonstrate what “new localism” and “double devolution” can realistically offer. The political momentum is for further change and a new partnership between central and local government (and between councils and the private and voluntary sectors). But this new era of devolution must be firmly rooted in best practice and common sense, and with the capacity and capability to deliver. As some of the essays point out, the task now for local government is not to talk up the case for localism, but to prove to central government and their local community that they deserve more powers and the resources that go with it. Includes chapters by David Walker, Sir Simon Jenkins, Sir Robin Wales, Dermot Finch, Paul Coen, and Paul Raynes. 2007

Click here for all our publications on local government, cities and regions


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