Clegg’s new region-boosting initiative welcomed by West manufacturing group

June 13, 2013

The regional head of EEF The Manufacturers Organisation has welcomed Government plans to create a new Cabinet Office committee aimed at driving regional growth.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will chair the committee, which brings together a number of ministerial groups responsible for city deals and other regional economic initiatives.

Mr Clegg officially launched the new committee with a speech last night.

He said: “If you want to give more power back locally – such as the freedom to drive local enterprise, more power to retain business rates and generate investment – you’ve also got to change what happens at the centre.

“We need to break down the silos that exist in Whitehall, with the right hand not talking to the left hand. You can’t devolve responsibilities to local economies, without giving them real control and the tools to use it.”

EEF The Manufacturers Organisation’s West director Phil Brownsord said: “This could be an important development. The Government’s localism drive so far has lacked focus with too many loose ends and unanswered questions. The new committee must provide the coherence that we need to unlock growth at the local level and ensure that any money going into the single pot is well spent.  

“Top of the new committee’s agenda should be ensuring that different parts of Government are working together effectively at the local level, raising the capability of local enterprise partnerships and ensuring that they are developing meaningful strategies.”

Mr Clegg believes the new committee will “once and for all” change the Whitehall culture that “says devolution is good, as long as it’s not my department you’re talking about: with faster decisions, a joined-up conversation about local growth and even greater ambitions to hand power back.”


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