Energy firms say devolution is good for business

Company bosses – including many in the renewables sector – have backed the Government’s devolution agenda, saying it would be good for business.

A new report published by leading think tank Centre for Cities, in association with law firm TLT, reveals that business leaders feel that the devolution of more powers over areas such as transport and housing will help boost British companies in the years ahead.

More than half (57%) said that their firm would benefit from local government having greater control over local transport, while over half (51%) said that giving local leaders more powers over major infrastructure projects such as housing developments would be an advantage to their business. 

But the majority (79%) of respondents said that they had received little or no consolation from local government about their views on proposals for more devolved powers.

“The devolution process has been light on detail so far, in terms of the content of both the Devolution Bill and the individual bids under negotiation,” said TLT partner and head of energy and renewables, Maria Connolly.

“However, it is looking increasingly likely that control over infrastructure is going to be a key feature of the devolution deals for many city regions across the country.

“Taking this into account, it’s clear that businesses in the renewable sector need to have a say in the devolution debate in their area. This way, we can ensure renewable energy is put at the heart of local infrastructure plans, so we can help shape a more sustainable future for the UK economy.”

Commenting on the findings, Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of the think tank Centre for Cities, said: “We often hear that the private sector is sceptical about the benefits that devolution would bring, but this report shows that UK business leaders clearly back the devolution agenda, and believe that it could offer them real opportunities in the years to come.” 

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues