Power to the regions: why more devolution makes sense | Tony Travers

After months of painstaking negotiations with Whitehall, a further devolutionary shift to London has seen the budget for the work and health programme transferred to London boroughs.

Resources amounting to up to £80m over five years will be used by councils to help the long-term unemployed and those with disabilities to access employment. A further £60m will also be available from the European Social Fund, taking the overall budget to some £140m.

Other city regions, notably Greater Manchester, have struck their own devolution deals with the government and London has had to make its own case, as must each city region, for a further transfer of power to the capital.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has signalled that his administration will lobby for substantial further devolution, including over taxation, and when mayors are elected in the Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge/Peterborough and Tees Valley city regions in May this year, it is inevitable that they, too will pursue substantial further devolved powers.

The creation of the Greater London Authority in 2000 was the start of what has turned into a longer-term process of devolution to the UK’s largest city. In parallel, Scotland and Wales have become ever more like Canadian provinces or German states. Income tax powers are in the process of significant devolution to Edinburgh and Cardiff….


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