Laura Sharman 06 November 2014

Councils unite to call for devolved powers

Council leaders across all parts of the UK have joined together in calling for an ‘urgent’ meeting with Whitehall to discuss devolution of power to local government.

The local government associations from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have written to William Hague, chair of committee looking at devolved powers.

The letter accuses the Government of trying to ‘second guess what is best for localities' and calls for a ‘bold’ approach to a new system of governance.

The letter also states: ‘Any new settlement which ignores the re-awaking of local identity in the UK is likely to be unsustainable.’

Council leaders are urging the Government to transfer power to the level of government closest to the people, setting out a defined set of powers and responsibilities to secure the legal position of local government.

The letter also calls for greater fiscal freedoms for local government, saying the current system is ‘inefficient’ and hampers economic growth.

Communities minister Kris Hopkins said: 'This Government has delivered significant decentralisation of powers and finance to local councils, but there is real scope to go further and build on what we have done. That’s why earlier this week the Chancellor announced plans to create the first metro-wide elected Mayor in Greater Manchester, with powers over issues including transport and housing.

;We’ve urged other councils to come forward who want to follow Manchester’s lead, but localism should also be about power flowing down to individual councils, to neighbourhoods and directly to local residents.'

Last week, The MJ reported the LGA was calling for full devolution to local councils within 10 years.

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