Devolution submission deadline

The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is making its way through Parliament – a bill which would see the Government devolve more powers to local authorities.

Councils wishing to bid for ‘significant’ devolved powers needed to lodge their ‘expression of interest’ by Friday 4 September.

Caroline Williams CEO Norfolk Chamber said: ”We understand that the option favoured by Norfolk County Council is for a Norfolk and Suffolk submission.  This will propose clusters of districts working in partnership with the County Councils to make savings in areas such as transport/infrastructure; health and social care; flooding; blue light services; planning and housing; and economic development.”

“Local accountability will be a positive move, but it is essential that businesses participate in any decisions with clear democratic accountability for local businesses as well as residents.”

Norfolk Chamber of Commerce is accountable to their business membership and has a deep knowledge of local business requirements – and can therefore work with partners to make business participation a reality.

The following are the key points which would make devolution work for business:

Devolution must be about growth: Norfolk Chamber business members want the transfer of power from Westminster to the regions to be clearly tied to delivering economic growth and prosperity. Devolution proposals should be subjected to a published ‘growth test’ measuring their potential impact on businesses.

Norfolk businesses want participation, not just consultation: The business community will only lend their support to greater devolution of spending or tax-raising powers from Westminster to local areas, if there is clear democratic accountability for local firms as well as residents.  Business wants a real say in local decision-making that affects them.

Formal accountability and clear safeguards for business: The business community is interested in seeing more localisation of property taxes, including business rates and stamp duty – but with formal accountability and clear safeguards for business.

Regulation of businesses must be consistent: Devolution will invariably make some boundaries in the UK matter more than ever before. Devolution of powers to regulate businesses must be minimised, so as to avoid further inconsistency in the application and enforcement of rules and regulations.

Complexity needs to be reduced: Funding from central Government should be less fragmented, with ‘un-ring fenced’ grants, meant for economic development and business support spent on local growth.  A reduction in the complexity of local government is needed.

Grant Thornton UK LLP are undertaking a study to understand what you think about the prospect of greater devolution, how it could affect you and what opportunities it could bring for our region’s economy.

We would be very grateful if you would take a few minutes to complete the survey. Please make sure your answers are representative of your businesses views.

To complete the survey, please click here.

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