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Councils want greater powers after Scottish devolution pledge

Councils in England have said that plans set out to boost the powers of Holyrood in the event of a ‘no’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum should be replicated for local authorities across the UK.

The call from the Local Government Association (LGA) comes after the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour announced that the process to devolve greater powers to Scotland would begin the day after a ‘no’ vote on 18 September.

LGA chair Cllr David Sparks said that the pledge to devolve powers to Scotland rightly acknowledges the important principle that decisions which affect people's day-to-day lives, their jobs and their businesses, are best made close to where they work and live.

“These freedoms should not just be an exclusive privilege for one country in the union,” he said.  “New powers being offered to Scotland in the event of a ‘no' vote must be given to every local area in England and Wales.”

Sparks stated that the appetite for devolution does not stop at the border and the rest of the UK will not be content to settle for the status quo. He added that next week's referendum marks a historic opportunity to revolutionise “local government and the choices of the people we serve not just for Scotland, but throughout the UK”.

Earlier this year the LGA published its ‘Investing in our nation's future: the first 100 days of the next government’ report, which called for a devolution of powers, including greater control over taxes and schools, following the 2015 general election. An LGA commissioned poll also revealed that around 60% of people agree that decisions should be made at a local authority level, rather than being set by the government.

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