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82% of people in England support devolution to local areas

A new report has suggested that 82% of people in England support the devolution of more powers to local areas, while 66% would like to see English votes for English laws in Westminster.

The survey on devolution, commissioned by the BBC, involved 3,000 adults in England and shows two-thirds support further devolution.

Its results have come just after the chancellor announced his first move on devolution since the Scottish referendum. He has agreed a multi-billion pound devolution package for Greater Manchester, in return for the region agreeing to institute a directly elected mayor.

More funding for areas outside of London was a popular idea in the poll. It found that 48% of people who lived in the south east, and 43% of Londoners agreed that too much of Britain’s resources are spent on the capital. The figure jumps to 78% amongst those polled from the north east.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC: "I have worked tirelessly to hand power from Westminster into the hands of local people who know their areas best."

Clegg added that the government had embarked upon "the biggest decentralisation of power for decades".

He said: "I want to go much further, which is why I launched Northern Futures to invite ideas from people who live, work and do business in the North to tell us what they need to help them grow.

"I'm hosting a major summit for Northern Futures in Leeds on Thursday to discuss and debate these ideas and come up with a plan for northern prosperity."

The Local Government Association welcomed the deal for Greater Manchester as a step in the right direction.

Cllr David Sparks, chair of the LGA, said: “More powers for Greater Manchester is very good news for people living in the region. However, this is only the first step on the road to a much bigger and wider process of devolution, not just for the Manchester city region, but for the whole of England, which will require different approaches for different areas, including how they are governed.

"Devolving down to England's big city regions will generate billions of pounds worth of economic growth. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

"We have long been making the case for people from across the country being able to benefit from more of the important decisions affecting their lives being made close to where they live, whether home is a big city or a rural area.”

(Image: c. THOR. Licensed under Creative Commons)

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