Andrew Carter, Acting Chief Executive, Centre for Cities responds to the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne of a Cities Devolution Bill.
“The Chancellor has set out very clearly and consistently the terms on which he is willing to pursue ambitious devolution deals with UK cities. In the short term, the ability and willingness of other city regions across the UK to respond to the Chancellor’s agenda will vary depending on local politics and the extent to which combined authorities and cross boundary working are well established.
But in setting out the basis upon which future deals will be struck so early in the Parliament, the Chancellor has put the ball firmly in the court of local politicians across UK cities, who now face a stark choice as to whether to maintain their resistance to adopting a city region mayor and risk missing out on the benefits of further devolution, or resolve to broker agreement locally for new strategic city-region leadership in exchange for new powers to boost growth.
Although at this stage there does not appear to be any new, previously unannounced powers on the table for Manchester or London, we do know that when agreement can be reached on governance models and structures, there is more scope for further devolution in future years to take place. Already in the context of Greater Manchester we have seen that with the addition of devolved health funding, and in the context of London, where over the course of the last decade the scope of the Mayor of London and the GLA’s authority has grown significantly.”
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