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LGC View - City Deals

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All those involved in getting the eight city deals announced last week signed off deserve to be congratulated: some genuinely significant proposals have been agreed.

We already knew about the most exciting – the ‘earn back’ mechanism that will allow Greater Manchester, and possibly Leeds,  to receive an increased share of the tax revenues generated in the city region. But added to that have been some important proposals around consolidating some of the myriad funding streams that are poured into a city without ever being added together.

As the comment piece from John Mothersole (right) shows, the negotiation process has been a refreshing one, with cities being assisted by the Cabinet Office’s cities unit and encountering challenging feedback, but not intransigence, from spending departments.

Now the challenging process of implementation begins. Ministers expect to see cities make good on the pledges they have made on job and apprenticeship creation – a massive order in the current economic climate. But messages such as the one from Sheffield, that there are seven jobs for every young person between 16 and 18 with an engineering degree, are the kind that hit home.

On the nitty gritty of individual policies, there is work to do too. Greater Manchester is hammering out the fine print on its earn back mechanism while the Leeds and Sheffield city regions, having committed to creating combined authorities to strengthen their joint working, must now do the heavy lifting of making that a reality when economic geographies span both single-tier and two-tier areas.

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