Published: Wednesday, 10th February 2016
MPs have urged ministers and local council politicians to do more to ensure the public is engaged in devolution proposals, negotiations and outcomes.
That’s the view of the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee which has just published a report on the Government’s devolution legislation and the ground-breaking Manchester deal.
The all-party committee also reviewed the way in which devolution in England is moving ahead in other places such as the Tees Valley, Liverpool, Leeds and Cornwall.
Committee chair Clive Betts MP said: “We believe that the current arrangements should only be a first step towards a much bigger devolution settlement and that devolution should be the default across all Government departments.
“If we are to achieve this local leaders and the Government must make far greater efforts to communicate with and engage the public so they embrace devolution as a positive development too.”
The committee found a significant lack of public consultation and engagement at all stages of the devolution process. MPs urged the Government to publish all information on devolution deals online so the public can access a range of details on the proposals, deals, and negotiations.
The Committee highlighted what the MPs called “a failure to set out clear, measurable objectives for devolution, rushed timetables for negotiation, and a lack of openness about deals.”
The Committee argued that, by the end of this Parliament, the Government and local authorities should move to a position of ‘devolution by right’ with the Government announcing a package of powers on offer to local government.
Meanwhile ministers have announced that the first-ever mayor of Greater Manchester will be elected on Thursday 4 May 2017.