Michael Lyons is to host a national conference - Economic
Prosperity: the local contribution on 14 September.
The conference will explore the role of local government and other agencies in enabling and promoting economic development, supporting the well-being of individuals and communities and contributing to the growth of the national economy.
The conference will challenge local authorities, businesses and public sector organisations on their current roles and approaches to promoting economic prosperity. Identifying 'what works' in promoting economic prosperity at the local level.
The conference will hear from senior figures from across central, regional and local government as well as the private sector and international perspectives including Sir Michael, local government secretary Ruth Kelly, Local Government Association chair Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, former CBI director general Digby Jones and British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost.
Sir Michael said:
'It is increasingly being recognised that promoting economic prosperity is a fundamental part of local government's place-shaping role in every community. It should be a core activity of local government, but is currently restricted by the weight of central priorities and targets which 'crowd out' room for local authorities to innovate and work in this area.'
'Those businesses represented at my recent business events acknowledged the potential for local government to take on a greater role in promoting economic prosperity in their area, but argued for greater commitment from local government to engage with businesses and for officials and councillors to increase their understanding of the needs of businesses and economic development within their area'.
'I am bringing together at this conference representatives from local government, business and other agencies to look at the role of local government, the barriers currently faced and potential for solutions. I look forward to hearing from a range of perspectives including experience from the US in what works best in promoting economic prosperity at the local level.'
Lord Sandy said:
'I am looking forward to exploring, with government and the business community, the role of local government as a leader, partner and catalyst, in driving economic prosperity.
'On the continent, cities such as Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid and Luxembourg have higher GDPs than their equivalents in Britain. With more devolved governance and taxation, and clear powers over transport, infrastructure, planning, economic development and skills, they have managed to develop local economies with an inbuilt and self-generated dynamism that benefits not just the city, but pulls up the whole region.'
Mr Frost said:
'Businesses make a vast contribution to their communities, creating jobs and wealth and contributing to the long-term wellbeing of every local area. Small and medium sized enterprises are the most dynamic sector of the economy. Local authorities need to recognise this and encourage their growth through creating the right environment for businesses.
Promoting the economic prosperity of our local areas cannot be done by Local Authorities alone. Chambers of Commerce and local authorities need to work together, recreate the idea of civic leadership and regain the sense of local pride which creates business success. Business leaders should be equal partners in shaping the future of a town, city or rural area and have a say over local spending priorities. Only by doing this will local accountability be improved.'
1. The National Conference on Economic Prosperity - the local contribution will take place on Thursday 14 September in central London. Further details of the conference can be found at www.lyonsinquiryconference.com
2. Sir Michael was originally commissioned in July 2004 by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor to make recommendations on how to reform the local government funding system by December 2005. On 20 September 2005 the remit of the inquiry was extended to enable Sir Michael to consider issues of function before finalising his conclusions on funding.
3. On 15 December 2005 Sir Michael issued a consultation paper and interim report. A further paper was published on 8th May 2006 entitled 'National Prosperity, local choice and civic engagement' with the inquiry concluding with a final report to Ministers in late 2006.
4. Copies of the reports, submissions, research commissioned, and the terms of reference for the Inquiry, can be found on the Lyons Inquiry website at http:www.lyonsinquiry.org.uk