National and Devolved Politics

04.09.17

LGA demands devolution report release as ‘stalled’ process missing vital opportunities

Economic growth opportunities are being missed across England because of the stalled devolution process, which has left many areas in limbo, it has been claimed.

Today marks two years since the government’s deadline for devolution deals to be submitted, which saw over 30 proposals from towns, cities and counties sent into the DCLG. But since then, the LGA has stated that the process has “stalled” with no deals announced in the last 18 months.

The association, which represents local authorities in England and Wales, has called on the government to publish its annual devolution report when Parliament returns after its summer recess.

It successfully lobbied for the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act to include a duty on the secretary of state to provide annual reports to Parliament setting out progress on devolution across England as soon as possible after 31 March. This year’s report has yet to be published.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said that local authorities want to see their communities reap the benefits of having greater powers and funding to build more homes, secure the infrastructure essential to economic growth, improve roads, equip people with the skills they need to succeed and increase access to fast and reliable digital connectivity for all.

“But there are concerns that devolution discussions have stalled and opportunities are being missed,” he added. “To reignite the devolution process, the government needs to engage in a debate about appropriate governance arrangements with local areas.

Earlier this year, the election of six combined authority mayors across the country marked a milestone step for devolution in England. But the deal in Sheffield city region has currently hit the blocks, with two members of the combined authority pulling out of the plan, and a ‘coalition of the willing’ being formed to develop a pan-Yorkshire deal. However, the northern powerhouse minister has suggested the only deal on the table is the one in South Yorkshire.

Recently, Lord Kerslake, LGA president and the former head of the Civil Service, stated that there has never been a more important time for devolution and that it “needs to go beyond the current crop of deals already agreed”.

“And powers that come back through Brexit need to be given to local government as well as Whitehall,” he added.

Today, chancellor Philip Hammond will be hosting his first summit with the metro mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Tees Valley to discuss the issue of stimulating productivity across the north.

Ahead of the visit to Leeds, Hammond said that boosting productivity in the north is at the very heart of the government’s ambition to build an economy that works for everyone.

“As we prepare to leave the European Union it is even more important that we support the Northern Powerhouse to reach its full potential,” he said. “That’s why we are investing record amounts in infrastructure, and working with metro mayors to encourage growth and create opportunities throughout the north.”

Reflecting on devolution post-Brexit, the LGA stated that it has become “even more important” for the government to ensure the whole nation benefits from the EU exit.

But a spokesman for the DCLG promised that the government is 100% committed to devolving powers to local areas where there is strong local support for plans to deliver better local services, greater value for money and clear accountability.

“Next year, people in Sheffield city region will elect a powerful mayor with around £1bn of new government investment and a range of new powers,” they added. “We also announced in July that we will begin talks with the West Midlands mayor Andy Street to agree a further devolution package for the area.” 

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Council told to reimburse Suffolk woman charged for care she never received

23/11/2017Council told to reimburse Suffolk woman charged for care she never received

Suffolk County Council has been hit by criticism from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) after a woman was wrongly charged for ... more >
Business rates announcement does not solve council funding uncertainty

22/11/2017Business rates announcement does not solve council funding uncertainty

The government has announced that business rates will be reduced by changing the basis from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the lower Consumer Pr... more >
Khan attacks Hammond, describing Budget as ‘most anti-London in a generation’

22/11/2017Khan attacks Hammond, describing Budget as ‘most anti-London in a generation’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has attacked Philip Hammond’s Budget, calling it the “most anti-London Budget in a generation.” ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Second devo deal for West Midlands approved as more finally on the way

22/11/2017Second devo deal for West Midlands approved as more finally on the way

The government has agreed a second devolution deal “in principle” with the West Midlands mayor and combined authority to address local productivity barriers, and has also committed to... more >
Counties slam ‘secret and underhand’ city council boundary takeover plot

17/11/2017Counties slam ‘secret and underhand’ city council boundary takeover plot

Nottingham and Derby city councils have been accused of “secret and underhand” plans to expand their boundaries without proper consultation with residents or other authorities. The c... more >

the raven's daily blog

City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

22/11/2017City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

It’s been a busy day in the PSE office. Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget included a number of interesting announcements, ranging from new devolution deals and housing measures to changes to business rates. This year’s Statement was described well by Lord Bob Kerslake, who said it had been a “mixed bag” for hous... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Driving forward a healthier Scotland

10/11/2017Driving forward a healthier Scotland

Dundee City Council is leading the way in boosting electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Scotland, writes Rebecca Wallace from the local authority&rsqu... more >
A smarter approach to digital transformation

10/11/2017A smarter approach to digital transformation

Catherine Bright, Smarter Digital Services (SDS) manager, explains how a partnership of 12 councils across Kent and Surrey are jointly funding a ... more >
Delivering on estates

10/11/2017Delivering on estates

Sam Ulyatt, strategic category commercial director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), on how a new framework can help public sector organisat... more >
Open for business

10/11/2017Open for business

Clare Moore, senior specialist of valuation and disposals at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), explains how public sector bodies looking to... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

public sector focus

View all News