– Devolving powers out of Whitehall in order to stimulate growth.
It is very difficult not to see this as A Very Good Thing.
The Independent takes up the story:
Up to 20 major towns and cities will today be offered extrapowers over jobs and transport to help them to recover from the downturn.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will promise them freedom “to carve out their own economic destinies”.
The second phase of “city deals” comes after England’s eight largest centres outside London – including Birmingham and Manchester – won the right to decide how skills and transport funding is spent locally. They are also allowed to borrow against future tax receipts to invest in job creation schemes.
Potential recipients of the new powers include Black Country, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Coventry, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Oxford, Reading, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton, Southend, Stoke, Sunderland, Swindon and the Tees Valley.
Each of these 20 locations will be asked to bid for the new status, and it will be granted if they can demonstrate they have good ideas for economic regeneration. Mr Clegg will say: “It’s about central government getting out of the way to put local people in the driving-seat, because they are best placed to deliver jobs and growth.”
* Paul Walter is Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a LibDem activist in Newbury, Berkshire and blogs at Liberal Burblings