Last edited 15 Dec 2020

City deals

The Localism Act 2011 introduced the Core Cities Amendment which allows local councils to make the case to be given greater powers in return for greater responsibility.

On 8 December 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Greg Clark, Minister for Cities launched ‘city deals’ and published a white paperUnlocking growth in cities’.

Cities deals are agreements between the government and English cities, giving cities greater authority for decisions in their area to create economic growth and decide how public money should be spent.

The white paper suggested that, ‘Cities are the engines of economic growth and they will be critical to our economic recovery. However, to create the new businesses, jobs and development that the country needs, local leaders need a step change in the way in which they support economic growth on the ground.’

It highlighted that cities and their wider economic areas account for 74% of our population and 78% of our jobs and proposed that, ‘The Government will work with different cities over the coming months and years to agree a series of tailored ‘city deals’. This is not about rolling out blanket policy prescriptions, but hammering out agreements that will enable cities to do things their way…. City deals must be genuine transactions, with both parties willing to offer and demand things in return.’

The Cities Policy Unit was created in August 2011 to help cities negotiate City Deals with government. The first round involved the 8 largest cities outside of London, known as the 'core cities'. The second round involved the next 14 largest cities outside of London and the 6 cities with the highest population growth between 2001 and 2010.

In the 2015 Budget, chancellor George Osborne announced moves to extend city deals to Aberdeen, Cardiff and Inverness.

In November 2015, the Commons Public Accounts Committee expressed concern about who was accountable for funds devolved through City Deals and whether responsibility rested with local or central government.

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