Transport firmly on the agenda for City Devolution Plan for England

May 14 2015  

Powers on transport, housing, planning and policing will be given to English cities as part of the Cities Devolution Bill to be outlined in the Queen’s Speech later this month.

In his first post-election speech George Osborne announced the plans for this in Manchester today.  An appropriate location given that he said the region offered a blueprint for other large cities, as Greater Manchester will elect a mayor in two years and take on such powers.

CIHT welcomes the potential opportunity for transport to be given a greater strategic focus through the Cities Devolution Bill as giving greater prominence to transport can unlock wider benefits.  Transport offers economic, social and health benefits, particularly in congested urban situations. Cycling and walking need to feature prominently in discussions about transport decision making, investment and management in city regions.

These points were highlighted in the Final Report by the City Growth Commission that outlined the benefits that could be achieved to enable cities to thrive as whole systems, as this could lead to:  “creating socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable places where people want to live and work.  Critical to this agenda is place-based commissioning and alignment of public service budgets. Managing down the costs of complex welfare dependency, social care and public health, for example, frees up resource to invest in productive forms of economic development spend”.  

City regions will need longer term certainty of investment and funding, particularly for transport, to realise the full benefits.  As such, CIHT want to see the Bill deliver on the recommendation from the City Growth Commission of multi-year finance settlements of between five and 10 years.

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