The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has called for devolved powers and funding for local leaders, in response to the government revealing the 10 city regions shortlisted to benefit from an investment of £840 million.
Announced at the end of September, the funding – part of the wider £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund – will help to upgrade infrastructure, and improve transport links all over the country, empowering businesses and creating jobs.
Part of the Industrial Strategy, the investment will promote growth in each city; the regions shortlisted are Derby and Nottingham, Leicester City, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, and West Yorkshire.
These city regions can bid for a share of this fund, while also receiving £50,000 each to develop the business cases for investment in their areas.
Sir John Armitt, the NIC Chairman, is pleased that the funding is prioritising infrastructure in these different city regions.
However, he pressed home the case for devolved powers and funding for the local leaders in these areas to help for transport plans, employment and construction of housing.
He said: “I’m pleased to see 10 city regions across the country benefiting from this funding boost, recognising that the need to tackle congestion makes cities a top infrastructure priority.
“The Transforming Cities Fund has been a great first step, and I would now urge Ministers to go further and devolve even greater powers and funding to local leaders.
“That will enable them to devise longer term plans for transport, but also to boost employment opportunities and deliver much needed homes.”
The words of Sir John in response to the government shortlisting these 10 city regions echo the calls of the National Infrastructure Assessment which recommended long term infrastructure budgets should be given to cities where bigger projects need to be developed.
By issuing devolved powers, the NIC believe local leaders will be able to vastly improve their regions.