Politicians, business leaders and key figures from across Nottingham have debated the benefits devolution would have locally.
The discussion was part of a Nottingham City Council initiative aiming to raise awareness of the devolution process, which could see certain powers taken from central government and put in to the hands of local councils.
At the moment, central government gives money to authorities to spend in certain areas and in a certain amount of time. However, if more power was given to councils they could decide where and when to spend the cash.
According to Councillor Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, devolving powers from ministers in Whitehall to local authorities would give local people and businesses more influence when it comes to big decisions and how money is spent.
“Something needs to change.”
“We now have a democracy which is creaking at the seams and a national picture of around eight to nine million people who will not vote in the next general election,” says Cllr Collins.
“Something needs to change. What devolution offers is the opportunity to provide greater influence and powers to the regions, which will certainly benefit local people and businesses.”
A number of other notable Nottingham figures were also at the debate, including Jon White, the managing director of local firm, Turner and Townsend.
Mr White says he is also keen to support the devolution initiative.
“Devolution is very exciting as a great engine for change because it will provide more power to the regions and more influence for local authorities to make choices that are appropriate for local people.”
The move to devolve powers to local government is also supported by research group Centre for Cities.
“We now have a democracy which is creaking at the seams…”
Nottingham City Council leader, Jon Collins.
A representative from the group, Naomi Clayton, spoke at the debate in a speech that explained why and how devolution would benefit cities across the country.
“Many large UK cities are currently punching well below their weight in terms of employment rates, business start-ups, workplace earnings and skills,” says Naomi.
“The focus therefore needs to be on how we get big cities outside of London to punch above their weight. We see a simple answer to this question: give these cities greater financial control and flexibility.
““Devolution represents an opportunity for local people and local organisations to drive the social and economic policy agenda and a move away from a central policy system that has historically damaged our economy.”
Councillor Jon Collins, Nottingham City Council leader, on what devolution could mean for Nottingham.