Labour’s £20bn pledge to devolve power to the nation

 
Kate McCann
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LABOUR leader Ed Miliband will today unveil a central pillar of the party’s manifesto for 2015, with a plan to devolve control of £20bn to regions around the UK.

Revealing the interim conclusions of Andrew Adonis’s growth review, Miliband will pledge to hand new powers over transport, housing, infrastructure and the work programme over to councils who are prepared to work closely with local business leaders. The plan will put the private sector at the heart of decision making, according to the Labour leader.

“Cities and towns that agree to come together with local businesses to plan for their economic future will be given historic new powers over funding for infrastructure, skills and economic development,” Miliband will say today.

“With power of this sort comes responsibility,” he is set to add.

“These changes will only bring new jobs, greater prosperity, if the towns and cities are willing to put the private sector at the heart of decision making.”

Labour’s devolution plan borrows heavily from Conservative peer Lord Heseltine’s own review, in which he proposed a list of central budgets which could be devolved to local decision-makers, rather than controlled by the government.

Miliband and Ed Balls have today written to all local councils, universities and local enterprise partnerships to invite them to prepare plans for controlling more spending.

Speaking of his desire to see more power in the hands of local people Adonis said: “We need to empower city regions and counties to drive growth and jobs. This means devolving budgets and greater responsibility for skills, infrastructure and economic development from Whitehall. London and Manchester have shown the way forward. We need all our city regions to follow suit.”

But chairman of the Conservative party Grant Shapps warned that the plans are a quick-fix for a long-term unbalanced economy.