The New Local Government Network (NLGN) today welcomed the signing of three new Multi-Area Agreements – City Region of Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country; North Kent; and West of England. Secretary of State, Rt Hon John Denham MP and Minister Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP signed the agreements on behalf of the Government and the three areas join the ten existing MAAs, the majority of whom are part of NLGN’s Multi Area Agreement Forum.
A multi-area agreement is designed to be a cross-boundary coalition of local authorities with plans to tackle issues including housing, transport and skills at a regional and sub-regional level. The MAA Forum was set up in 2008 by NLGN and the Institute of Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester in order to share learning and ideas, as well as to influence policy thinking on sub-regional governance.
Chris Leslie, Director of NLGN congratulated the three areas and said that he looked forward to more sub-regional partnerships being signed off in the near future, but warned that Government must continue to devolve powers to sub-regions.
“We welcome the new MAAs being signed today. However central Government needs to do more to further unlock the powers that local authorities and sub-regions need to harness the untapped potential in their areas, especially in terms of economic development. If these new MAAs had additional powers – for instance a longer term commitment from the Treasury on capital grant funding – then many other cities and sub-regions would follow suit. We very much look forward to working with the new MAAs and encouraging others down this route through our MAA Forum.”