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‘Two-thirds of business leaders’ support regional devolution plans

A new survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD) suggests that the majority of its members support the Government’s plans for regional devolution.

The study, which involved over 1,000 business leaders, revealed that 65% are in favour of plans to give combined authorities additional powers in relation to housing and planning, transport, and education and skills.

However, concerns were expressed that local authorities could use additional tax-raising powers to increase taxes or increase the complexity of compliance for businesses.

Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to give more powers to cities and regions of England in the Second Budget on 8 July.

Commenting on the study, James Sproule, IoD Director of Policy, said, ‘Businesses see huge potential in devolving power from Westminster to England’s great cities and regions’.

‘The ultimate goal is to create vibrant local and regional economies, each competing to deliver efficient transport systems and workers with the right skills. However, if local authorities seek to avoid political responsibility for devolved issues or to boost their coffers by hiking taxes and creating obstacles to business, the great opportunities of devolution will be lost’.

Local authorities have until 4 September to submit a case for devolution as part of the Chancellor’s spending review.