Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Dead or alive, devolution needs a new lease of life

  • Comment

LGC’s interactive map reveals the latest devolution plans

After Greater Manchester’s first devolution deal was announced with fanfare in November 2014, excitement and energy swept across the country as areas sought to be a part of former chancellor George Osborne’s devolution revolution.

Just over two years on from that moment and a lot, but also in many respects not a lot, has happened.

A quick glance at LGC’s latest interactive online devolution map – the first comprehensive refresh since Britain voted to leave the European Union, David Cameron departed Number 10, and Theresa May became prime minister – shows devolution discussions have suffered setbacks in many areas and come to a grinding halt in others.

Brexit, combined with the fact ministers and civil servants were so preoccupied with trying to put out fires in areas with deals agreed in principle, has put devolution on hold.

Despite concerted efforts by the communities secretary Sajid Javid and his team to get agreements they had inherited over the line, the prospect of adopting an elected mayor caused the collapse of deals for Greater Lincolnshire, North East and Norfolk and Suffolk.

At the last update, nine areas were in advanced devolution discussions with the government. Now LGC finds there are just two. Conversely, where there were 10 areas without any firm plans or involvement in other agreements, there are now 16.

As momentum behind the devolution drive has been lost, discussions about reorganisation have ramped up in places – just look at the latest developments in Oxfordshire and Greater Dorset, for example.

A recurring theme emerging from LGC’s in-depth research was that areas that still had ambitions of securing a devolution deal were waiting to hear back from the government on specific proposals or how best to proceed.

Local Government Association chair Lord Porter (Con) last week described devolution as “dead”. Communities secretary Sajid Javid responded saying it was very much “live”.

Dead or alive, one look at LGC’s map indicates devolution is going to need nursing with care and attention if it is to get a new lease of life.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.