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Strong, perceptive piece – but not sure about the ‘conclusion’ on the demand for fiscal devolution. Hasn’t one of the ingredients of GMCAs progress been that it has been ENTIRELY on Osborne’s terms, with considerable ‘long-grassing’ of any GMCA fiscal ambitions – even including the apparently agreed city deal ‘EarnBack’?
For other metros, with even more challenges than GMCA in terms of agreeing propositions and delivering them effectively in partnership, to seek a new fiscal dimension, seems a stretch too far.
The real pressure on central government can only come when, say, half a dozen cohesive city-region leadership teams, including GMCA, agree a joint agenda for negotiation with government. This will diminish the overwhelming powers of national government holding ‘all the cards’ in divide and rule haggles over individual deals to pick and choose what crumbs of patronage they are prepared to hand out…
Ben, you mention lack of benchmarks for Chancellor’s plans. Ultimately though there is the ballot box and presumably Mr Osborne wants to avoid the turnout fiasco of PCC process? Would really like a higher turnout for mayors elections than for council elections? This maybe requires local council leaders to use boots on ground to get voters to the poll ( which is in their interest as they will have backed the mayors too). Maybe delivering a vote for mayors, saving Osborne’s blushes just as he is (?) about to ascend to Prime Minister, does give some further leverage?
Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure the prospect of low turnout is substantial enough to be used as leverage with the Chancellor today, but it may be that if people don’t turnout to vote in 2017 in Greater Manchester that we see a renewed call for more powers to be devolved in order to persuade people of the value of city-region governance and Mayors.
But the question as to whether more powerful local leaders could lead to higher turnout is also interesting.
When you look at the turnout in the London Mayoral Election in 2012 it was 38%, just 3% higher than the local elections in 2014, and 5% higher than the average for European elections.
Clearly it is substantially higher than the PCC turnout levels, but in comparison to local elections generally, it seems the chances are introducing Mayors, even with more powers, is unlikely to lead to an increase in turnout in and of itself.
Hi Ben – on slightly related theme note that municipal/mayoral elections in France in 2014 had unprecedentedly low turn out- at about 60%
Where would you forecast turnout for mayor in Manchester in 2017 as falling?