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Red Ken city model could be Tory blueprint

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LOCAL COUNCILS would enjoy an £11bn cash windfall and be given the opportunity to raise and borrow money under a new plan being put to the Tories.

The City Taskforce, written by former deputy Tory leader Lord Heseltine, would give regions the power to elect Mayors and local authorities direct control of the cash used to fund 50 organisations including regional assemblies and English Partnerships.

The plan would also give local authorities the power to issue bonds and borrow on the open market.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone used a similar scheme to fund the London Underground upgrade.

'I believe [the plans] could herald a renaissance of English city government, ' said Heseltine.

The Local Government Association said that regions should be allowed to decide on whether to elect mayors. It has already put forward plans for local authorities to be able to borrow to fund regional transport plans.

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