David Skelton is the Director of Renewal, a campaign organisation aiming to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party. Follow David on Twitter.
Devolving power further needs to be at the core of a future Conservative offering. And cities need to be at the core of this new wave of devolution. ‘Trusting the people’ and empowering cities will be a fundamental element to balanced economic growth and urban revival over the next few decades. A devolution of power to cities must be a fundamental part of the Tory agenda for the next decade.
Most of the high growth during the Blair years benefited only the South East of England and failed to reach the low-paid. Although economic growth was over 11 per cent between 2003 and 2008, real incomes actually stagnated and the North-South divide widened. That can’t be allowed to happen again and empowering our cities is a real way of delivering economic growth that benefits everybody.
Edward Glaeser, in his superb ‘Triumph of the City’ has set out why the city will be at the core of economic growth in a globalised economy. And the more autonomy and power a city has, the more likely it is to pull in talent and investment and to become a thriving centre of regional economic growth. The Government’s ‘City Deals’ represent a great start to making that happen and they provide a real platform to Government should be ready to devolve powers over planning and welfare to work to cities, in a way that will give our great cities the ability to innovate and promote job creation.