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East Midlands Chamber News

Business leaders debate devolution for East Midlands

Business leaders and key decision makers from across Nottingham gathered to discuss devolution, the political hot topic of the day, at global construction consultancy Turner & Townsend’s city centre office yesterday.

The event took place as part of a city council initiative called Devolution Day, which was geared towards raising awareness of the topic and what it will mean for the general public, as well as for businesses and the economy in the East Midlands.

Keynote speakers at the event included the leader of the city council, Jon Collins, and Centre for Cities representative Naomi Clayton.

Leader of the city council Jon Collins said: “The political context is simple; 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.

“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 which has historically damaged our economy.”

Centre for Cities representative Naomi Clayton gave a keynote speech about why and how devolution will benefit cities.

She said: “The focus 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.”

UK Managing Director at Turner & Townsend Jon White said: “As a business we are keen to support the devolution initiative. We have a very strong regional presence and we see the social value of more devolution to the regions as critical to growth and sustainability.

“Devolution is all about providing better solutions for local people and enhancing the coordination of business with the aims and beliefs of local stakeholders and residents. In our experience, the delivery of major programmes and projects is all about collaboration - and that is a key part of our DNA as a business.”

Regional director at Turner & Townsend Mark Deakin added: “We want to support the ongoing regeneration programme in Nottingham and we see devolution as a means of achieving that goal.
“We’re also keen to see the East Midlands and the West Midlands knitted together, and we know we play a key role as a private practice in driving this goal forward.”