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Local authorities must have power to raise funds if devolution plans are to work

Municipal engineers warned this week that plans to devolve more powers to local authorities will not work unless they are given power to raise their own funds for much needed infrastructure.
The lack of reference to new fund-raising powers in the Local Government White Paper has raised fears that the government will stop of short of proposing them in the forthcoming Lyons Review into local government finance.'I was expecting something a bit stronger,' said director for highways and transportation at Essex County Council Tony Ciaburro. 'Power goes where the money goes and it will only be truly meaningful if the Treasury is prepared to devolve the funding.' The Local Government Association added that it was particularly disappointed there was no mention of powers for local authorities to set business rates to raise cash for transport. The calls were also backed by House of Commons transport committee report into local government transport and planning published this week that says: 'The proposal [to give councils more powers] will only be a solution in a significant number of cases once local authorities have greater powers to raise more funds locally.'A spokesman for the Department for Communities & Local Government said that no decisions on new fund-raising powers were likely until next year's comprehensive spending review.

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