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Digest: RSA calls for more powers to boost inclusive growth

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Seeking corporate investment to create jobs at any cost will not solve the myriad of problems councils are facing, according to a new report.

Instead, councils should focus on growing their own inclusive economies, the report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has found.

It sets out eight new case studies of places that it claims are making inclusive growth a concrete reality. One of these, the US state of Utah, has created high-quality jobs and cut carbon emissions while rejecting the ‘growth-at-any-cost’ narrative.

The report also provides a six-point check plan for local authority economic development teams to use, to ensure their local strategy “remains more than just buzzwords”.

The report’s author, Atif Shafique, said: “Councils are clearly limited by austerity, but can help their residents by making sure inclusive growth tangibly helps local residents: our report shows how even conservative US states like Utah have used inclusive growth to buck the ‘growth-at-any-cost’ narrative, reducing carbon emissions while creating high-paid, quality jobs.

“Likewise, central government must give councils the power and funding to actually make this a reality. This week’s announcement of funding for small towns shows more than ever we need real devolution to local authorities, including substantial fiscal powers.”

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