Ways and Means — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation — Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:34 pm on 20th March 2015.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Minister for Faith, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 9:34 pm, 20th March 2015

I am always happier when I am on the same page as my right hon. Friend, who was an immensely distinguished Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government. He should take considerable credit for keeping us focused on affordable houses, and he should share in the triumph.

We are considering ways to deliver private rented accommodation for homeless families, so that councils can help those who are in most need, while reducing the reliance on expensive temporary and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.

This Government have put councils and communities back in charge of housing and planning. We have adopted the same approach to boosting economic growth. Local areas now have the breathing space and support they need to find their own economic solutions. We have ended the failed attempt by Labour to run the economy through regional quangos and have devolved powers and funding to enterprise zones and local enterprise partnerships. We have trusted local people, and they are now delivering jobs and growth in their communities.

Twenty-four enterprise zones across England have created a whopping 15,500 jobs, attracted more than 430 businesses, secured more than £2 billion of private sector investment and built world-class business facilities and transport links. These enterprise zones are gaining momentum as local centres of excellence—whether with biotechnology in Nottingham, advanced engineering in Lancashire, creative industries in Bristol or aerospace in Torquay.

We will now create two new enterprise zones at Plymouth and Blackpool, subject, of course, to business cases, and extend up to eight existing zones, so that more communities can benefit from these local engines for growth. We will also support the creation of a Croydon growth zone to create 4,000 homes and 10,000 jobs.

The message is clear: where cities grow their economies through local initiatives, we will support and reward them. Starting next month local authorities in Cambridgeshire and Greater Manchester will be able to retain 100% of any growth in business rates, so that they can support businesses and reap the benefits. Unlike what the Labour party is proposing, we are not raiding the budgets of local authorities to pay for this.