Local planning power is taking center stage across England as 20 new municipalities join the central government's City Deal program, which allows cities to bid for expanded planning and financial powers. With these recent additions, the program accounts for 71 percent of the English population and 68 percent of jobs.
The municipalities will be able to set and spend budgets and create their own investment funds in support of housing and office space.
"Conservative MP Greg Clark, the minister for cities, welcomed the announcement: 'Each city is unique, yet for decades Whitehall has treated them as being the same - there has been too little sense of place in government policy. City deals are a quiet revolution in the way Britain is governed. Rather than London laying down the law, cities have the right to do things their way.'"
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the architect of City Deal, said the UK would miss out on £41 billion a year if it continued focusing economic development on London and the south.