Austin Macauley 01 April 2016

LGA urges Whitehall to show faith in local areas as GM marks ‘landmark’ devo day

LGA urges Whitehall to show faith in local areas as GM marks ‘landmark’ devo day

Council leaders have hailed the devolution of health and social care budgets to Greater Manchester as a defining moment and urged other Whitehall departments to ‘follow suit’. The conurbation officially took control of a combined £6bn budget today.

Lord Peter Smith, chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board, described the progress made over the last year in preparation for devolution as ‘revolutionary for the region’.

Chair of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, said the ‘landmark’ changes would provide lessons on ‘how to turn a devolution deal into an achievable transformation plan’.

He added: ‘It is important that this budget has been devolved and hopefully other Whitehall departments will now follow suit. This will help pave the way for future health devolution deals which will help local areas use public spending more effectively to best meet the needs of local people.

‘As well as health budgets, Whitehall needs to put its faith in devolving the fullest range of powers to all local areas, with no policy areas out of bounds and with them free to choose the best governance to suit their local needs.

‘This will see money targeted where it’s most needed in order to deliver more homes and infrastructure, create jobs and a skilled workforce, join up health and care services for elderly and vulnerable people, and make the most of each place's unique assets and deliver health and prosperity for all citizens.

‘Widespread devolution supported by fairer funding is essential for the survival of public services and to deliver the Government’s ambition for our communities and national economy.’

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