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Mayor calls for government to ‘move fast’ on London devolution

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on the government to “move fast” on greater devolution for the capital, following last week’s EU referendum result.

Speaking at The Times CEO Summit, he said that “we can't hang around for the outcome of the negotiations before we give Londoners more control”. 

He added that devolution to the capital wasn’t just important to Londoners, but the whole of the UK, “because when London succeeds, the rest of the country succeeds too. And when we fail, the entire nation fails”.

Khan mentioned the strong support for devolution from the chancellor George Osborne and former mayor Boris Johnson, who established the London Finance Commission report into devolution for London as Mayor.

It is understood that mayor is looking for the devolution of fiscal responsibility, including tax raising powers, as well as more control over business and skills, housing and planning, transport, health and policing and criminal justice.

The mayor’s call was backed by business and government leaders from across the capital.

Jules Pipe, chair of London Councils, said London’s government was speaking with one voice on this issue. “We need more power over our own destiny to help cope with the fallout of leaving the EU.”

PSE recently reported that London councils could demand full control of tax powers, subject to a successful pilot of business rates devolution. And earlier this year, Lord Kerslake said that ‘radical’ devolution was needed to tackle London’s housing crisis.

Professor Tony Travers from the London School of Economics said the referendum result is a “profound constitutional moment for the UK”, and there’s no going back now. 

“The London Finance Commission was established and enthusiastically backed by Boris Johnson,” he said. “There should be no political block to making devolution to London (and other British cities) happen fast.”

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