Responding to the latest stage of the protracted Lyons Inquiry David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“I am confident that Sir Michael Lyons understands the importance of economic development but wonder why the Government gave him just six weeks to consult businesses and other stakeholders. This is just half the minimum length of time stipulated in the Government’s own code of practice and risks making a mockery of the idea of consultation.
“The Eddington, Barker and Leitch Reviews are among the most important that we have seen recently. The BCC has welcomed all three reviews and believes their recommendations will foster economic development. However, many of the proposals they make appear to be national-level solutions and it is unclear how these will fit with moves towards greater local devolution.
“Furthermore, there is still no connected strategic spending plan which brings together transport, planning and skills and this will be crucial if the reforms are to be successful. Funding remains the million dollar question for all of these reviews and, not least, the Lyons Inquiry itself.
“Business remains implacably opposed to relocalisation. It would only lead to higher business rates without accountability and is no guarantee of improved value for money. Already businesses contribute substantially to many services which are not of direct relevance to them whilst economic development is often not prioritized by Local Authorities.”