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11.09.15

Devolution bids submitted by 38 areas ahead of Spending Review

A total of 38 local areas across England have put in proposals for devolution deals, prime minister David Cameron has confirmed.

Cameron disclosed the information as part of a keynote speech ahead of the Spending Review that will address the main principles that will underpin the next round of reforms and public spending cuts.

Devolution formed part of the government’s focus on the future, as the 38 areas could start seeing “major” devolved spending powers over transport, education and health.

The first wave of new agreements will be signed in the coming months.

Cameron said: “The best businesses would never shy away from allowing their customers to shape the way they improve their services. If we are bold enough, government can go one better by actually putting many of those services in the hands of local people.

“It is also proven reality that money spent closer to people is often money spent wiser – so we can really deliver more for less.”

Cornwall pioneered the wave of devolution deals that followed its successful bid for localised control over its services.

Since then, a series of regions have submitted – or are intending to submit, ahead of the Spending Review – bids to devolve Whitehall power to local hands.

Most recently, the West Midlands Combined Authority submitted a £8bn devolution bid, including demands for tighter control over transport, skills and growth – with seven councils agreeing to work together under an elected ‘metro mayor’.

Liverpool had also pledged to submit a bid by 4 September, also under an elected mayor for the Liverpool City Region – made up of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral.

On 4 September, the preliminary devolution deadline to submit deals to the chancellor, council leaders urged the government to devolve at least £60bn worth of funding to local areas over the next five years.

Greg Clark, communities secretary, said: "The sheer volume of bids we’ve received, from cities and counties, demonstrates how local leaders are embracing this opportunity to have a direct hand in shaping the future of their area, whether in skills, transport, housing or healthcare.

"I look forward to us working with each of these areas in the coming weeks and months to turn their proposals into reality."

Successful future deals will be supported by the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill currently making its way through Parliament, and the proposals will be considered as part of the Spending Review process.

See the full list of devolution deals submitted by 4 September below:

1 *Aberdeen
2 *Cardiff
3 Cheshire and Warrington
4 Cornwall
5 Cumbria
6 Dorset
7 ‘D2N2’ – Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham
8 *Edinburgh
9 Gloucestershire
10 Greater Brighton
11 Greater Essex
12 Greater Lincolnshire
13 Greater Manchester
14 Greater Yorkshire
15 Hampshire & Isle of Wight
16 Heart of the South West
17 Herefordshire
18 Hull, Yorkshire, Leeds City Region and the Northern Powerhouse
19 *Inverness & Highland City
20 Leeds City Region
21 Leicester and Leicestershire
22 Liverpool City Region
23 London
24 Norfolk
25 Northamptonshire
26 North East
27 Oxfordshire
28 Sheffield City Region
29 Surrey, West Sussex & East Sussex
30 Swindon
31 Suffolk
32 Tees Valley
33 Telford & Wrekin
34 West Midlands
35 West of England
36 Wiltshire
37 Worcestershire
38 York, North Yorkshire and East Riding

*in devolved nations

Other key elements of Cameron’s speech, to be delivered today (11 September), included the expansion of the Troubled Families programme and greater integration of services including new legislation that will unify police, fire and ambulances operations.

Emphasis on reform will also scope children in care and prisons, which Cameron identified as two “standout areas”.

He said many of the country’s efforts to “extend opportunities” have been undermined by a “tolerance of state failure”, but added: “Reform – be it breaking state monopolies, bringing in new providers, or allowing new ways of doing things – can cut the costs of these failures both economically and socially and help advance the progressive causes of spreading opportunity and enhancing social mobility that we should all care about.”

Cameron also stressed the importance of opening contracts to SMEs in order to “spread entrepreneurship and drive innovation”.

Furthermore he pledged to close down government offices and release Whitehall land to build more homes.

He concluded: “I believe that by focusing on these core principles – of reform, devolution and efficiency – we can deliver better, more progressive government that will meet the challenges of living within our means and at the same time help us extend opportunity to all.”

(Top image c. Paul Toeman)

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