The recent delay of the Lyons Inquiry into local government funding has been widely portrayed as a disaster - but in fact, it's rather good news.
The expansion of the Inquiry to include the role and functions of local government gives Whitehall the perfect opportunity to develop political and financial arrangements that help Britain's cities to perform better.
The UK is one of the most centralised countries in the developed world - but the economic evidence suggests that cities need real freedom in order to grow and prosper. Greater financial flexibility, policy-making independence, and strong leadership can promote economic growth. What's more, we know that scale matters, and that the case for financial devolution is strongest at a city-regional level.
This paper argues that the expanded Lyons Inquiry is an opportunity that should not be wasted. Instead of political manoeuvring, it's time to develop concrete reforms - beginning with the devolution of real power and resources to Britain's cities.
Centre for Cities has re-launched as an independent think tank. You can visit them online at http://www.centreforcities.org.
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