Labour vows to end ‘Hunger Games-style' competition for powers and funding
She said Labour will “smash up a century of centralisation” if they win the next General Election and ensure councils and mayors are no longer forced to go “cap in hand to Whitehall” and ask for devolved powers or submit bids for a share of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
During a speech at the Locality Convention in Sheffield yesterday, she promised to “tilt the balance of power” by "giving every community in this country, the power, the resources and the backing” they need.
“Forget the lick of paint on the high street and the small grant handed out, Hunger Games-style, from Westminster by a junior minister who has never set foot in the places we call home,” she said.
"Our high streets will be thriving because our local economies will be thriving, with every part of Britain making a contribution again.”
She told the audience that the UK, which is now facing its longest recession since records began, has suffered years of slow economic growth because too many communities outside London have been overlooked.
But Labour will kick start these economies with major schemes, such as their proposal to invest £28bn a year in developing green technologies in places such as the hydrogen plant in Ellesmere Port and the wind turbine factories in Grimsby, she said.
“We cannot continue to ignore the potential in those places and we cannot continue to treat people as if they have no stake in the outcome and no skin in the game,” she added.
“I firmly believe that is the reason why we've seen these huge waves of political upheaval across every part of the UK in the last decade is because people in a representative democracy don’t feel represented.”
She added: “Growth is the only way out of our current malaise, but the only route back to growth is to get every part of our country, all people and all communities, able to make a contribution again.”
Ms Nandy said Labour want to give communities powers to buy local assets, such as high street shops, pubs and football clubs, and give them priority whenever those assets are put up for sale.
She also said Labour will look to reform compulsory purchase powers, so councils can purchase land at its existing value and “shape and drive the future” of their local communities.
"That prevents profit being extracted from land and those town centres, those places that we call home, being allowed to go to rack and ruin,” she added.
Boris Johnson’s flagship Levelling Up policy, which aims to raise living standards and kickstart local economies in areas outside London, helped him secure a landslide victory in the 2019 General Election.
Labour claims the Government has failed to deliver on this bold promise over the last three years.
However, it introduced the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill in Parliament in May, claiming the legislation will put “the foundations in place” to ensure “all parts of the country share equally in our nation’s success”.
New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he remains committed to the policy.