Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Sir Howard Bernstein and Mark Rogers argue increased devolution will boost investment

The chief executives of Birmingham and Manchester councils have called for the easing of the planning regime to drive further investment into city regions.

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein said central government should continue moves to devolve power to the regions, with the ability to fast-track planning at the top of the agenda.

“The system is clogged up with billions and billions of pounds-worth of appeals,” Sir Howard told delegates at the MIPIM international property conference in Cannes.

Birmingham City Council chief executive Mark Rogers echoed the call, adding that national planning policy was a deterrent for overseas investment into the regions.

“National frameworks and planning legislation make it difficult to get the very best deal in our local areas,” Mr Rogers said at a roundtable discussion on localism, hosted by JLL and Movers & Shakers.

Both council chiefs also suggested that fiscal devolution, including giving city regions greater power over taxation, would encourage more investment in projects outside London.

“There needs to be fiscal responsibility but there’s more room to be flexibility around how big cities can develop a different working relationship with government,” Sir Howard said.

“I am not saying I am going to be handed responsibility for taxation now, but there needs to be a roadmap.”

Mr Rogers said: “If you exclude tax-raising powers [from devolution] you are tying one hand behind your back.

“There needs to be a sensible discussion about what tax-raising powers would look like.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.