Combined authority consults on Community Infrastructure Levy as part of devolution plan

Greater Manchester is considering adopting a Crossrail-style development tax to fund infrastructure improvements across the city region.

Under proposals out to consultation, Greater Manchester would take on the same powers as those currently enjoyed by the Mayor of London to impose an additional levy on developments.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his autumn statement last year the city region would be able to implement a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as part of its third devolution deal. And the consultation outlines plans to emulate the system launched by London mayor Boris Johnson in 2012 to help fund the £15bn Crossrail trans-capital link.

However, while London’s CIL is being used exclusively to fund Crossrail, Greater Manchester is proposing that its city-region wide tax would fund “local improvements to infrastructure such as roads, schools, transport, parks and community facilities”.

According to draft governance proposals for the city region, its combined authority and future elected mayor would introduce a city-wide CIL would require the agreement of the city’s 10 metropolitan boroughs.

Each borough is also entitled to levy their own CIL under the provisions of Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations, however only Trafford MBC currently does so, according to data compiled by planning consultant Quod. All but six of London’s 33 local authorities have adopted a CIL charging schedule in place.

Documents supporting Greater Manchester Combined Authority governance consultation say any CIL would be required to support the development and regeneration of the city region.

Under the terms of the third devolution deal, the combined authority will have to commission and publish a biennial review of the impact and the use of CIL on development activity in Greater Manchester.

Interim Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd said the new powers were vital for the combined authority to realise the full potential of devolution.

“Greater Manchester has led the way on devolution agreements that move decision-making about crucial public services like local transport, housing and roads closer to local people,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for people to examine up close what decisions we will make locally and how it will make life better for the people of Greater Manchester.”

Manchester’s devolution deals also involve granting its future elected mayor power to produce a spatial framework to manage the supply of land for jobs and new homes across the city region.

Included in its first devolution deal in 2014 was a new £300 million fund for housing expected to drive the delivery of an extra 15,000 new homes over ten years.

Elections for the city region’s first mayor are due to take place next year.