'We support today's announcement* of more powers for the mayor of London. Ken Livingstone hasn't got everything he asked for, but these new powers will help him grow London's economy.
* DCLG announcement DEVOLUTION AGENDA PUSHED FORWARD WITH NEW POWERS FOR LONDON
The government's review of the powers and responsibilities of the Greater London Authority - and in particular the Mayor of London - ran from September 2005 to February 2006. The review's findings are published on 13 July 2006.
The GLA is made up of the Mayor, the London Assembly and around 600 GLA staff. The Assembly has a scrutiny role over the Mayor, and appoints GLA staff.
Overall, the GLA has responsibility for transport, policing, fire and emergency planning, economic development, planning, culture, environment and health.
Until now, the Mayor's powers have been quite limited:
- He leads on developing statutory strategies on transport, economic and spatial development, and the environment;
- He sets budgets for the GLA, Transport for London, the London Development Agency, Met Police and fire services;
- He chairs Transport for London.
The main points of the review are:
- Housing: the Mayor will set London's statutory housing strategy and control the affordable housing budget, to be delivered by the Housing Corporation (which itself is currently under review)
- Skills: the Mayor will head a new London Skills & Employment Board - this will set London's adult skills strategy, to be delivered by a new London-wide Learning & Skills Council
- Planning: the Mayor will get more strategic control over the biggest planning sites - more details to be decided later
- Environment: the Mayor does not get control over a single waste authority, but under the DTI Energy Review is given unique powers to tackle the causes of climate change - and to help London adapt to climate change. He could use these powers to develop new growth sectors such as green technologies.
Our City Leadership report found that our cities need more financial powers and freedoms. Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham should have tax and spend powers, plus directly-elected super mayors.
The Centre for Cities is an independent urban research unit, based at the Institute for Public Policy Research. Launched in March 2005, it is taking a fresh look at how UK cities function. Tom Bloxham is chair of the centre's steering group.
'City Leadership: Giving City-Regions the Power to Grow' by Adam Marshall and Dermot Finch is available from www.ippr.org/centreforcities