LGC’s interactive map reveals the latest devolution plans
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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.
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.
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.