Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to give cities and towns a share of £20bn for transport and housing development if the party wins the general election.
The plan will be included in Labour’s election manifesto and will require cities, towns and businesses to join forces to outline and deliver their plans for economic growth.
The funding will be delivered over the course of the parliament to councils whose plans are put forward and accepted within the first year of a Labour government.
The policy is based on interim findings from a review by shadow infrastructure minster Andrew Adonis, who has been asked by Mr Miliband to investigate the barriers to regional economic growth.
Speaking to Construction News, HS2 Growth Taskforce member and Conservative MP Steve Norris, a former transport minister, said the move was “well intentioned… but perhaps naïve” because all opposition parties promise more devolution but end up taking more power centrally.
He said that, during discussions with civic leaders on behalf of the HS2 Growth Taskforce, the same message came from every quarter.
“[They said]: ‘We don’t need more cash, we just need the right to spend it in the way we know will be best for our city or region.’ Politicians of all parties take note.”
Contractors have repeatedly sought greater regional investment pipelines, but warned that local authorities often lack the expertise to procure major schemes quickly and efficiently.