A think tank has called for the delivery of a ‘devolution parliament’ this election in order to address the economic, environmental and democratic challenges facing the UK.
A new report from IPPR argues that the UK suffers from ‘over-centralisation’ and that the Brexit vote was in part frustration with the fact that the economic and political life of the country is largely centred on London and the South East.
Despite the Government’s devolution deals, the progressive think tank says,55 million people living outside of London are ‘still mostly governed from the capital in the corner’.
IPPR also says that the £9.5bn of local government spending cuts since 2014/15 has increased the centralisation of spending.
The think tank calls on the next Government to reverse austerity, redistribute funding fairly and devolve fiscal powers. It also recommends a new constitution which ‘permanently reforms central-local relationships’.
It urges the introduction of an ‘inclusive devolution’ process, available to all sub-national levels, and the development of a sustainable regional tier of Government that’s accountable to local government.
‘Some might see devolution as just one of many new competing priorities, but in fact it is an opportunity to solve many of the major problems central government struggles with, from regional inequality to climate change,’ the report said.
‘If the centre gives real control and power to regions, towns and cities of England, they will be enabled and empowered to tackle many of the challenges that centralised government struggles with, allowing Westminster to concentrate on its other priorities.
‘This would be a crucial step to rebalance our national economy – creating a country that works for everyone.’