The leader of Manchester City Council has warned that the services “getting absolutely hammered” by local government budget cuts are the ones which are “absolutely essential to economic growth”.
Speaking at the New Local Government Network annual conference in London earlier this week, Sir Richard Leese (Lab) said the only way to attract and retain businesses in an area is to “have places where employees can live and want to live”.
“Quality of place, housing, schools, parks, libraries – all the things we are talking about getting absolutely hammered in current spending rounds are absolutely essential to economic growth, and absolutely essential [to] creating places where people want to live,” he said.
“Having places where people want to live is absolutely essential to having companies that want to be in and grow in these places.”
During the same session on the economy, Kent CC leader Paul Carter (Con) said central government underestimated the cost of the infrastructure needed to support the growth agenda.
He said: “There’s a belief, in my view, in central government that [the community infrastructure levy] and [section] 106 contributions will pay for all of that infrastructure and it won’t.
“We have got a job in local government to wake up national government to that significant problem, not just to present the bill on their doorstep but to work with it in creative and innovative ways of funding some of that infrastructure.”