Let's get on with delivering devolution

Antony Higginbotham

It was just a few weeks ago that Lancashire County Council announced that formal talks with government had started to look at a potential devolution deal. For most of us, this has been a long time coming.

Devolution offers the opportunity to see greater decision making made locally. By those who know our area best. Executive authority transferred from the corridors of Whitehall to our home in Lancashire. The opportunities, and risks, are huge.

The risk mainly comes from doing nothing. Even a cursory glance at industry newspapers and magazines from elsewhere in the country shows you how impactful devolution can be.

We read about the transformation taking place over in Teesside; the growing Midlands engine with the Mayor of Birmingham, Andy Street, pushing it forward; Manchester being regenerated by the Combined Authority and mayor; and London – our only true global city – continuing to drive economic growth for the whole UK.

In Lancashire, that’s the opportunity available to us. An outward looking globally engaged county, able to attract investment from around the world whilst also dealing with the structural challenges we have. From health inequalities to major infrastructure needs.

My message to government, to officials at County Hall, and to district leaders, is to get on with the task at hand because I’m excited by where this could take us.

Separately, as you’d expect, inflation has been a big focus for all involved in politics as I know it is for our business community. The figures continue to be disappointing, but there are signs that the peak has been reached.

Looking at comparable countries it’s clear that our interest rates are now getting to the right kind of ballpark and, if the USA is anything to go by, we should start to see inflation drop.

The only way any of this works is if  government, the Bank of England, business, and households are all going in the same direction.

That means difficult decisions at times, but ultimately, it’s those difficult decisions that will see inflation start to come down and the kind of fiscal and monetary changes that can bring.

 

Enjoyed this? Read more from Antony Higginbotham MP

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