LEP asks Treasury for extra powers

A review of green belt allocation and a unified planning regime are among a wish-list published by Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership on Monday at an event in Westminster.

The Growth Plan for the city was handed to chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, by the Greater Manchester Economic Advisory Panel, appointed by GM LEP.

The panel is chaired by Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and includes Lewis Atter, partner, KPMG; Helen Bailey, chief executive, Local Partnerships; Dr Harry Bush, senior regulatory advisor, KPMG; Greg Clark, advisor and non executive chairman, OECD; Dan Corry, chief executive, New Philanthropy Capital; Diane Coyle, managing director, Enlightenment Economics; Jonathan Dimson, partner, McKinsey & Company; Jonathan Kestenbaum, chairman and chief executive, Five Arrows Investments; Dr Henry Overman, professor of economic geography, London School of Economics; Vicky Pryce, senior managing director, FTI Consulting.

The ten recommendations of the Growth Plan are:

  • Manchester should focus its resources on encouraging more trade and investment with growth markets such as China
  • Funding should be secured to expand the activities of the city's Business Growth Hub networking community
  • Government should reinstate Harwell in Oxford and Daresbury in Halton as the UK's two national science campuses
  • The size and reach of export credit guarantees needs to be extended
  • Manchester should implement a unified planning regime and make better use of funding mechanisms such as the Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Government should review how green belt and greenfield land is treated in densely-populated areas like Manchester, where economic growth is a priority and existing patterns of land use differ greatly from the South East
  • Skills funding must become far more responsive to the needs of business and local business needs more say over how this public money is spent
  • Government should give Manchester greater discretion over the total tax revenues that growth created by additional investment in the city generates
  • Government should work with Manchester to look at how the design of the Public Works Loan Board might be holding back the development of a local authority bond market in the UK
  • Government should seek to enable local economic growth through its business rate retention proposals. Manchester should also consider whether to offer a beacon business rate discount for some key business sectors.

O'Neill said: "Growth in the UK would be boosted if Manchester – leading the way for other big cities too – has enough freedom to make decisions. The actual employers and civic leaders on the ground know what's best for the city – free them up from too much national bureaucracy and let them get on with it."

To download the Greater Manchester Growth Plan, visit: www.neweconomymanchester.com

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