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UK manufacturers overwhelmingly support devolution, with the majority wanting to see the process across the whole of England better structured in order to deliver its full potential, according to a recent Make UK survey. 

It finds that more than 70% of firms view decision-making at the local level as important to their future success, with over 60% wanting to see a better constructed devolution deal, underpinned by new laws which would pull together existing local authority and devolution legislation into one powerful act. 

Our latest report – For or Against? The Case for Further Devolution – further examines these views and deciphers the complexities around the many types of English devolution currently in practice, before assessing the wider social and economic outcomes of the shift of powers away from Westminster to the regions. 

With the appetite for devolution clear, our report sets out a series of recommendations, including improving infrastructure funding and talent pipelines, to not only create parity across all regions, but set the future direction of devolution policy so that there is a clear long-term plan to unlock regional success.  

We’d also like to see local and central government raise the profile of the devolved deals and the benefits they can unlock to help correct the current knowledge gap, which has left some 46% of manufacturers unsure if their companies are located in an area with a devolution deal.

Devolution has been an obvious success story for manufacturers and should now be extended to bring the existing benefits to those areas of England which risk being left behind. This must start with a more streamlined and structured process which brings together the powers of Local Authorities and Devolution Deals into one Devolution Act.

As part of this, Government should introduce US style ‘bond referendums’ which would hand powers to Mayoral Regions to raise funds locally for regional infrastructure projects without having to go cap in hand to Westminster.
Faye Skelton Head of Policy, Make UK