By Kru Desai, KPMG’s head of Local Government
The six city deals announced last week are one of the first really visible manifestations of the government’s commitment to giving regions responsibility for their own achievements. They are an important transfer of power, putting city regions in the driving seat when it comes to securing economic growth.
They are not called a ‘deal’ for nothing; in return for additional funding, central government requires some structural reform locally, to provide assurance that there is sufficient governance to manage the funding responsibly. So, where they do not already exist, Combined Authorities are likely to be set up.
In Manchester – the first city deal, on which KPMG advised – not only are local funds are being established but public sector finance is being leveraged to enable the area to tap into private funds as well. And on this note, the role for LEPs is potentially critical, at least as the forum through which private sector dialogue can be marshalled and integrated into the wider discussion.
I expect an interesting outcome of the city deals to be a more holistic local view of spending in order to achieve the best outcomes. To a greater or less extent across the new deal recipients, this may mean increasingly considering transport, health and education as more complementary, and less separate, pieces of the regional jigsaw.