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Transport capital budgets could go to LEPs

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New local economic development partnerships could yet gain control of transport capital budgets, the transport secretary has said.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Philip Hammond, left, said the Department for Transport was engaged with the localism agenda.

He added that once ministers decide on which of the 56 Local Enterprise Partnerships are to get the go ahead, he would “see how far” DWP’s local capital funding could be devolved.

“This is a truly localist agenda,” he said. “And, yes, sometimes it will mean local authorities making decisions that Whitehall may not agree with.

“But what is the point of localism if not to give local people the right to decide what’s right for them.”

Mr Hammond added that he would end the “top-down system with ‘the man in Whitehall’ deciding what’s right for Bradford, Bristol or Birmingham”.

He said the government would also scrap the “multiple streams” of transport resource funding for local government and replace them with just two funding streams: a formula grant, which local authorities will be able to spend on their own priorities; and a Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which he said would consolidate the remaining transport cash in a single pot for which local authorities could bid to support plans for their area.

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