Latest Public Sector News


LGiU: Conservatives ‘have gone walkabout on devolution’

The government has been accused of having gone “walkabout” after failing to clarify its position on devolution so far at the Conservative Party Conference.

In keynote speeches yesterday Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, laid out a number of commitments, including guarantees for EU funding deals that are agreed when the UK leaves the EU and £5bn for new homes.

However, Lord Porter, chair of the LGA, said today that both measures do not go far enough and called on the government to guarantee all EU funding and grant councils more powers to build homes.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), said the speeches gave a “statement of intention”, but not the “clear direction of travel” seen in George Osborne’s devolution commitment as chancellor.

“The Conservatives seem to have gone walkabout on devolution,” he said. “Theresa May’s government have maintained a gnomic silence on most of these issues.

“Central government needs to support councils in reforming and delivering local services and in giving people and communities the ability to help shape their local areas.”

The new government has been accused of being less committed to devolution than its predecessor, although May insisted the agenda will go ahead following rumours that she was considering abolishing the requirement for devolved areas to have elected mayors.

However, in a blog post yesterday, Carr-West said that Osborne’s announcement that he is establishing a Northern Powerhouse Partnership to preserve his legacy and the resignation of Lord O’Neill, the devolution minister, were “not positive signs”.

Javid has already withdrawn the North East Devolution deal after it was rejected by some of the North East Combined Authority member councils. But three local authorities – Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland – have indicated that they would be interested in seeking a smaller devolution deal on their own.

Devolution in Sheffield is also facing a legal challenge from Derbyshire county council.

Carr-West said: “Those places that already have deals will carry on, but in many parts of the country outside the major cities those deals are either hitting roadblocks or being quietly shelved. There’s a real risk that we end up with a semi-devolved country that entrenches gaps in growth and productivity.”

He called on Javid to “send a clear signal” about his intentions on devolution, adding: “The worst case scenario would be micromanagement within a strategic vacuum.”

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


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

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 open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


An unsettling finance settlement?

23/02/2018An unsettling finance settlement?

Piali Das Gupta, head of policy at Solace, looks over the final local gover... more >
Finance settlement: a golden opportunity

23/02/2018Finance settlement: a golden opportunity

The local government finance settlement must enable counties to continue to... more >


BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuar... more >

the raven's daily blog

Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

11/12/2017Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

Jen Rae, head of innovation policy at Nesta, says the aims in the government’s new Industrial Strategy are ambitious, but will require a shift in policymaking in order t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

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 feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >