Yorkshire cities want property taxes to spend on growing economy

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SHEFFIELD and Leeds have joined other major cities in calling on Chancellor George Osborne to give them cash from property taxes in next week’s Budget.

Leaders of the eight biggest English cities outside London say the move would pave the way for investment in transport and other infrastructure that can help grow their economies and close the gap with London.

The group argue more decisions should be taken at a local level rather than in Whitehall and the Treasury needs to relax its grip on the money raised through taxes.

They want all the money from council tax, business rates and stamp duty retained at a local level.

Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “If we are to secure sustainable long-term growth as a nation, we must rebalance our economy.

“To do that, cities like ours need the power, freedom and resources to deliver on key regional priorities. Retaining a greater proportion of locally generated revenue could enable us to invest in the infrastructure projects we know will make the biggest difference to people living in our area – improving links to employment opportunities and opening up new markets for businesses.

“The evidence already proves that where we are given the powers and resources to act locally, we have the potential to deliver vastly improved outcomes.”

The core cities say the UK is unusually centralised and a much bigger share of tax is controlled at a local level in other countries.