But despite this, counties have specific challenges which, if they are not addressed, will hamper this country’s economic progress which is so crucial post Brexit. Counties suffer from lower-than average productivity compared to the major cities, have infrastructure gaps amounting to billions over the coming years, and contain some of the least affordable housing in the country, especially in the south east.
Many of the domestic economic issues facing the Government can begin to be addressed by tapping into counties’ potential. This is especially true in housing, where our new report with the Town and Country Planning Association shows how counties are innovating to accelerate housing delivery in their areas – but with planning reform and extra resource, they can do much more.
CCN has argued that planning reforms should go further, such as the statement of common ground, whilst planning and infrastructure functions should be closer aligned, with counties working in strong collaboration with district partners, like in the Oxfordshire ‘housing deal’. CCN’s report with Catriona Riddell Associates makes this argument.
Oxford Economics has argued that counties should play a bigger role in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and CCN will continue to argue for a significant role for county authorities in shaping ‘localised’ industrial strategies, and for an equal distribution of resource for infrastructure and economic growth.