Progress on Local Government Devolution

February 04, 2016 1:33 PM

Yesterday the Communities and Local Government Committee published its report into the state of local government devolution.

The outlook is broadly positive, with a further push towards devolution, including some very encouraging noise on fiscal devolution and the retention of business rates. We at the TaxPayers' Alliance have been vocal supporters of decentralisation of tax powers (including in our Single Income Tax).

The report does raise concerns about the manner of devolution however. Some complain that there is too little public consolation during the process and that local people are not sufficiently involved. There are also questions over the rigour of the process, with the report noting that many deals lack clear, measurable objectives and too little effort is being made towards transparency and openness.

In many cases, these deals are complex, and it is not always clear to those involved, let alone the general public, precisely how responsibilities are divided.

There are improvements to be made, particularly in transparency and clearly communicating what is going on, but it is positive to see the progress in this area.

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