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Insider Greater Manchester Review – Stuart Stead

19th June 2008
Investment: How can the city region make sure that the benefits aren’t sucked in to the centre and to give all their ten boroughs a fair crack of the whip?
East Manchester is currently undergoing a significant regeneration programme to redevelop areas such as Gorton and Hattersley. Over the course of the next five years, these less ‘fashionable’ suburbs will benefit from investment into housing, enhanced public facilities and infrastructure. This will have a knock-on benefit to Greater Manchester as a whole.   Supplementary business rates: Is the likelihood of a degree of devolution over business rates a good thing? Will business get a meaningful seat at the table?
I think it’s beneficial that the majority of decision-making is left to the discretion of local communities, although the Government should be able to set basic parameters to define how supplementary business rates operate. The Government should also be able to confine the purposes to which any revenue generated might be applied.
In addition, the business community should have some say as to whether there should be a supplement and the purpose to which the proceeds are used, particularly when proposals for a local supplementary business rate are higher than the national 10% business rate.
Should revenue generated by an SBR be ring-fenced to infrastructure projects, like road-user charging revenues?
I think investment of supplementary business rate revenue in projects that support local generation and economic development, thus building up values of commercial and industrial property in Greater Manchester, will benefit the business and wider environment.
The local knowledge of local authorities means that they will put SBR revenue to better use than central government, as the local authorities will fully understand the circumstances and needs of the region.
AGMA: What part will the new GM Business Leadership council play?  How will it make sure that business helps to shape future policy and bring further prosperity to the region? Will it have the necessary influence and authority?
In order for the GM Business Leadership council to be able to help with the long-term growth strategy of the region, it needs to be able to conduct its own reviews on the areas it believes will determine the future economic well being of the region. The council also needs the powers to highlight the issues of particular importance and make recommendations that are then acted upon.


The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Stuart Stead
19th June, 2008
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