Latest Public Sector News


Door is open for greater city devolution – Osborne

In George Osborne’s final Autumn Statement before next year’s general election, the chancellor stated that his ‘door is open’ to cities gaining greater devolutionary powers – though this was dismissed as “warm words but nothing of substance” by critics. 

Osborne’s statement on devolution fell short of expectations, after deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had suggested that devolution deals would be drawn up for Leeds and Sheffield in time for today’s statement. 

Last month Osborne announced that Greater Manchester is set to receive a multi-billion pound package of devolution from the government, in return for agreeing to institute a directly elected mayor for the region. 

In today’s speech he suggested this could become commonplace across England. At the despatch, he said: “Six months ago people would have said it was completely impossible to get the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester to come together with the government to agree a major devolution of power to the city and the creation of a new directly elected Mayor. 

“We’ve delivered in Manchester and my door is open to other cities who want to follow their cross-party lead.” 

The government added that other city areas have since come forward with devolution proposals, which are being discussed. And there are also proposals to form further combined authorities and improve cooperation between local authorities in a number of urban areas. 

A spokesman for the Key Cities group said: “Key Cities welcome the chancellor’s announcement today that the door is open for cities seeking further devolution of powers, but the time for talking about devolution is coming to an end. 

“If the government really believes in creating growth outside of London, it must empower all cities that are determined and willing to support their local communities and UK Plc.” 

Richard Threlfall, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, added that city leaders across the country will be “drowning their sorrows” tonight after the chancellor offered “warm words but nothing of substance on devolution”. 

“It is deeply disappointing that the government has failed to bring forward any proposals for fiscal devolution to England’s major city regions, as many had hoped,” he said. “Compared to other countries, the buying power in the hands of UK local government is almost pointlessly small. Without a greater degree of control over local taxes all talk of devolution, investing in our city regions, and rebalancing the UK economy is just hot air.” 

(Image: c. PA Wire)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >