Latest news

Devolved power bids make Treasury deadline

Published: Thursday, 10th September 2015

At least £60bn of central government spending should be devolved to local areas over the next five years, council leaders have urged.

That call came as cities and county areas across the country submitted a series of proposals designed to meet the administration’s devolution initiative.

Local areas are calling for greater local powers and funding for skills, housing, transport and health and social care as well as infrastructure.

Deals already submitted and offers being finalised include:

  • Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, which involves a call for 10-year transport settlement and fully devolved housing investment
  • Gloucestershire – proposals for control of all health care budgets, fully integrated health and social care and a single vision for health and wellbeing for the county
  • Liverpool city region, which wants the retention of 100 per cent of business rates income and the ability to franchise all local bus services
  • Leicester and Leicestershire, which has made a case for the devolution of funding and ability to commission skills programmes locally
  • Hampshire, South Hampshire, Isle of Wight, which want further investment in world-class marine and aerospace clusters and university research centres.

The Local Government Association, which speaks for more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is now urging George Osborne to match this ambition and use the Spending Review to devolve, or hand greater local control over, at least £60bn worth of funding down to local areas.

It argues that taking decisions closer to where people live can achieve up to £20bn in potential public sector savings as well as creating at least £80bn in economic growth and 700,000 new jobs.

Councillor Gary Porter, LGA chairman, said: “It is time to spend smarter on infrastructure to get maximum value from every public pound.

“This starts with a much more effective and efficient approach to investing in local growth and regeneration.

“With devolved decision making and funding, local areas can also better gear the skills system to tackle unemployment and underemployment and close skills gaps.”

Roger Milne