COMMONS

Government's Devolution Bill inquiry launched

24 July 2015

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee has announced an inquiry into the Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill; the means for delivering local "devolution deals", agreed between combined authorities and central government, such as the Greater Manchester Agreement. The Bill also enables secondary legislation to provide for the creation of elected mayors in combined authority areas.

The CLG Committee will examine a variety of devolution issues, looking at the lessons which can be learned from City Deals, whether the Manchester devolution deal provides a model for other areas, and how the Devolution Bill will build on local accountability. Among other issues, the Committee will also examine the current devolution plans for London in relation to the Bill and how the devolution of health spending to Greater Manchester will affect delivery of health services locally.

Chair’s comment

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

"Devolving power to local areas is the right way to help boost economic growth across the country and can potentially deliver more effective and efficient public services. As a Committee we will want to examine whether this Bill can help deliver real devolution, making services responsive and accountable to local people, and how far the Greater Manchester model is a template for other areas."

The Government has published the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill which will create a legislative framework to support the transfer of powers, and enable secondary legislation to provide for the creation of elected mayors in combined authority areas.

Call for evidence

The Committee invites written evidence on the following issues: 

  • How far the Manchester devolution deal provides a model, and the extent to which this is applicable to other areas; 
  • The devolution of health spending to Greater Manchester and how it will affect delivery of health services locally—and the merits of extending this model to other cities and counties;
  • How the Bill will build on existing local accountability structures and ensure appropriate governance mechanisms are put in place for devolved functions;
  • How the range of models available in the UK and abroad may suit the needs of different authorities, including all areas which have or intend to have a combined authority;
  • The appropriateness of current devolution plans for London and how these relate to the legislation; and, 
  • What lessons can be learnt from the City Deals programme.

We would be grateful to receive written evidence by 1 September 2015.

Send written submissions using the form available on the inquiry page.

Background

During the last Parliament the Coalition Government took a number of steps to devolve powers to local authorities, or groups of authorities, in England, for example, through city deals, whereby responsibility for various funding streams is devolved to local areas in exchange for greater responsibility for stimulating economic growth.

In addition the Government agreed bespoke "devolution deals", involving the transfer of further powers, with Greater Manchester, the Sheffield City Region and West Yorkshire. The Greater Manchester devolution deal also provided for the creation of an elected mayor.

In February 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding was published under which health and social care responsibilities would be devolved to "accountable statutory organisations in Greater Manchester".

In the previous Parliament, the CLG Committee published a report on Devolution in England: the case for local government, which called on the Government to allow local communities in England to take greater control over how money is raised and spent in their areas.

Further information

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