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MPs to study the impact of devolution on local economies

A cross-party group of MPs is to examine whether devolving more powers away from Westminster could boost local economies in England’s cities and regions.

The housing, communities and local government select committee has launched a new inquiry, which will look what progress has been made devolving powers in recent years, after a flurry of deals five years ago.

Since 2014, ten cities and regions in England have successfully negotiated bespoke devolution deals, including Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Cornwall.

But there has also been a number of devolution bids that have failed to get off the ground in various parts of the country, including one for the whole of Yorkshire.

The inquiry will examine the impact of devolving increased powers in the cities and regions where deals have been agreed and consider how any benefits can be realised in more areas of the country.

It will also investigate the effectiveness of the current strategy of developing bespoke deals region by region and ask if increasing available powers without wider systemic changes would produce similar benefits.

‘After the creation of the London Assembly there had been little development in devolution in England for over a decade,’ said committee chair, Clive Betts.

‘Between 2014 and 2017 a number of English cities and regions negotiated settlements allowing more powers at a local level. This flurry of activity has since slowed with little transfer of further powers, no new deals and the promised devolution framework still unpublished.

‘The approach the government has taken is to develop bespoke arrangements for different areas, both in terms of the powers devolved to them and the administrative systems to execute them.

‘We have launched this inquiry to understand the impact of the current approach. Has tailoring devolution to each locality improved decision making, the local economy and public services?’ added Mr Betts.

‘Most importantly, we want to discover what opportunities there are for improving outcomes across the country.

‘Notably in areas such as transport and health where provision doesn’t match existing local government structures, but also in improving the local economy, environment and infrastructure.

‘We will be looking to see how improved devolution can boost cities and regions, and how it can be implemented more quickly.’

The deadline for submissions is 29 August via the committee’s website.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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