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Philip Atkins
Philip Atkins

Think tank calls for devolution to go beyond cities

A leading independent think tank has today (Monday, Nov 20) issued a call for a reform of local government to help transform the economy by forging closer partnerships across communities and councils.

Authors of ResPublica’s report Devo 2.0: The Case for Counties argue existing county councils areas are  the “essential building blocks” to reform existing two-tier county and district structures as they have the scale necessary to deliver strategic decisions and developments.

Commenting on the report, Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:

This report raises some interesting questions around how we can best reform local government to both grow the economy and tackle the increasing, unsustainable demand on the public purse.

The county council has long argued that the delegation and decentralisation of decision making and funding from Westminster into the hands of local government is the right thing to do and the debate has been around the best way to deliver this for the benefit of the Staffordshire economy and Staffordshire people.

In Staffordshire ,we are committed to working with all our partners at a strategic level both within the county and across our borders and cutting through political and geographical divides to continue to grow our economy, create more, better paid jobs and support people to make the best choice for them and their families to help reduced the demand on public services in the future.

The report highlights how confused governance structures around Local Enterprise Partnership membership can obscure measurable outcomes from funding, unlike our collaboration with Wolverhampton City Council and South Staffordshire District Council in delivering i54 South Staffordshire, a great example of how an alternative way of work involving a county, a city and a district working together has delivered a real and growing success story through collaboration and not division, which has to be the key for the future success of Staffordshire.

 The full report can be found here