Cities need more fiscal freedoms to deliver economic growth, report claims

Cities need a wide range of fiscal freedoms in order to deliver economic growth, a new report from Core Cities UK and Metro Dynamics argues.

According to the two organisations, the two most pressing issues facing UK cities is the pursuit of stronger economic growth and the need to reshape the public sector.

The report argues that devolution of certain financial powers and budgets will enable UK cities to tackle these issues with locally tailored interventions.

It says that business rate localisation is a ‘welcome step’, but warns that these rates can be volatile and pose a degree of risk to local areas. As a result, it argues that these changes should come as part of a wider programme of wider fiscal reform.

Sir Richard Leese, chair of Core Cities UK and leader of Manchester City Council, said: “I welcome today’s report which again stresses the link between giving places more financial freedoms and improved economic and social growth.

“We believe that cities should retain more of the taxes they raise to spend how they like and we want to partner with Government to focus on creating a workable, sustainable, system of local government finance.

“Fiscal reform is complex. Business rate reform is just the start of this journey and the process of its implementation needs to be managed carefully to make sure that cities don’t lose out.”