I54 is the way forward, says CBI chief.


i54 is the way forward, says CBI chief.

In a speech to the Birmingham Made Me design expo, John Cridland, CBI Director-General, outlined his vision of a new approach to regeneration which focuses on business growth and breaks the cycle of dependency on the public sector.

Speaking ahead of the Chancellor’s Spending Review later this month, Mr Cridland said that regeneration must be built on strong partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Outlining the need for a new approach to regeneration, Mr Cridland will say:

“We need to break the cycle of dependency on the public purse to bankroll building projects, and focus more on local business strengths, leveraging the clout of the public balance sheet as a confidence booster to drive investment.

“Businesses are changing and so must the properties they occupy. With our supply of quality office space diminishing and the need to dramatically speed-up house building, regeneration is a high priority for business leaders I speak to in cities across the UK.

“There is huge potential for our major cities outside London to contribute far more than they do already. But without regeneration they will continue to punch below their weight.”

A new CBI brief published today Locally grown – Unlocking business potential through regeneration draws on positive examples of regeneration across the UK.

Among the success stories highlighted are the i54 South Staffordshire, which has successfully reinforced regional sector strengths in automotive.

In his speech, Mr Cridland will say that four key policy challenges must be tackled to ensure successful UK-wide regeneration:
• Local Enterprise Partnerships must rise to the challenge The Government is strengthening LEPs with more powers and funding, but businesses still need to be convinced of their capacity to deliver growth
• Political parties must commit to the existing structures for local growth Businesses don’t want another overhaul of local governance structures
• The Government must deliver long-awaited infrastructure upgrades Businesses need to see a delivery plan complete with timescales, sequencing, transparency and accountability, so they can decide where to invest
• Planning policy and property taxation must support the private sector’s development ambition Local authorities must set out clear plans in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework and urgent action is needed to curb the unacceptable burden of business rates for firms across the UK, especially for hard-pressed retailers