Cambridge should be allowed to expand due to its economic success, and local communities across the UK should be able to control their own immigration, according to a new report
The report suggested 47 strategic authorities across England should be able to independently process and issue visas for people who want to work and study in their areas, giving them greater control over immigration levels.
The report proposes that regions have “a direct say over the balance and numbers of migrants which they want to attract, and local political leaders would stand for election on their immigration policies”.
For instance, a place would be able to choose if it wanted “more international students and less migrant labour”.
As well as visas, devolved powers should include greater control over planning, local transport, tax-setting policy, business incentives and labour market freedoms to help attract the right talent for major local employers, the study advises.
It also says small and rural towns with the weakest local economies in England, and areas that predominantly voted to leave the European Union, need more powers to revive their communities.
The Government’s industrial strategy must take notice of England’s ‘stuck’ communities, the report adds.
These are usually towns or semi-rural areas that have failed to recover from the decline of former industries, and are now suffering economically.
‘stuck’ areas include the Isle of Wight, Blackpool and Tendring in Essex, the report said.
Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive of Localis, said: “Some parts of England haven’t recovered from the economic trauma of the 1980s. These, the most ‘stuck’ economies in the country, are of increasing political importance.
“Not only are they the beating heart of Brexit Britain, but home to a new wave of battleground parliamentary seats.
“In the aftermath of triggering Article 50, the Government’s industrial strategy has to address a political imperative of how the benefits of growth are fairly shared across the nation to reach these areas.”