Devolution is becoming a hot topic across the UK, inevitably fuelled by the Scottish referendum.
Westminster recently warned that the development of a separate legal system for Wales could lead to a "brain drain" to England were it to go ahead, meanwhile Scotland continues to push for further devolved powers.
At the micro-level devolution seems appealing. It means that small-scale local governments can retain money made within their own catchment to enable it to develop further. The argument goes that those who know their constituency best are best placed to allocate the resources available to it where they are needed; i.e. the money produced by Hampshire based businesses can be recycled to make the very area they work in better and more profitable.
At the macro-level, however, it can lead to a disparate nation. The U.S. is the perfect example; you see different states with different rules often acting at odds to the federal structure and pulling in different directions. There is the danger that certain areas develop faster and superior to others. Often underdeveloped areas need the support of the national government to make them attractive to businesses, to enable them to grow in the long run. If they are left to their own devices, with their own revenue streams, then little is produced leading to little further growth.
For businesses there is the issue of having to adapt to different regulations and rules across counties. If devolution is to happen then it needs to allow businesses to be flexible and not hinder their growth, while enabling areas to develop as efficiently as possible, with money placed where its needed by those who know the area best.
THE chairman of the Solent Local Enterprise Panel believes devolving extra power away from Westminster to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight would be good for business. However, speaking to the Echo at the LEP annual Growth Conference in Southampton, Gary Jeffries, pictured below, warned: “It’s important for businesses to have a strong voice.”