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Your questions answered

Some frequently asked questions about devolution, who's involved, what it means for London and more.

What is devolution?

Devolution for London means two things. First, reform or the devolution of powers to deliver public services that currently sit in central government departments to a more local level – the Mayor of London, the 32 boroughs or groups of boroughs. Second, fiscal devolution, or the transfer of additional powers over taxation to the Mayor and the boroughs.

When will devolution and reform happen?

Devolution and reform is a process. It involves a major change in the way the country works and therefore it takes place in stages over long periods of time. For example, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the devolution of business rates which will only be completed by 2020.

Who will make decisions under devolution?

All areas of activity currently under the authority of either the London Mayor or London boroughs will remain as today. The Mayor and the Leaders and Mayors of the London Boroughs already meet as the London Congress. This body would have strategic oversight of newly devolved responsibilities across London. 

What will devolution mean for Londoners?

Devolution would mean that Londoners would have more freedom to develop the policies and services they need to unlock the full potential of the city and its people. In particular this would be in the areas of employment support and complex dependency, skills, criminal justice, health and care, housing and business support.

Who is leading in which area for London Councils?

Chief Executive London Proposition leads

Devolution and public service reform - Charlie Parker (Chief Executive, Westminster)

Health and care – Martin Smith (Chief Executive, Ealing)

Skills -  Andrew Travers (Chief Executive, Barnet)

Employment support - Leslie Seary (Chief Executive, Islington)

Business support -  Jenny Holmes (Senior Manager - Business Engagement, City of London)

Justice and policing - Paul Martin (Chief Executive, Wandsworth)

Housing - Nick Wakeley (Chief Executive, Haringey)

London Councils leads

Devolution and public service reform - Dick Sorabji and Doug Flight

Health and care – Clive Grimshaw

Skills - Dianna Neal

Employment support - Dianna Neal

Business support - Dianna Neal

Justice and policing - Doug Flight

Housing - Eloise Shepherd

Will devolution mean higher taxes?

Fiscal devolution as outlined by the London Finance Commission means that decisions about the level of certain taxes would be set by London local government, rather than as now, by central government. This would include the ability to lower or raise taxes.

Is devolution just a way for government to impose more cuts?

Since 2010, the London boroughs have seen a reduction of 44 per cent in their core grant. The CSR 2015 is unlikely to change this trajectory and it is difficult to imagine a scenario in the forseeable future where this would be different. Devolution and reform offers boroughs greater flexibility to use their existing capacity more effectively to improve services during austerity.

We have an ambitious transformation agenda in our borough – should we stop?

The boroughs are recognized as being one of the most efficient parts of English local government – something we achieved by getting on with it and not waiting to be asked. Devolution offers a means of potentially accelerating existing programmes to transform the way we work with each other, partners and our communities. The Government have proven willing to listen about how to devolve services so London Councils believes that having different devolution packages means they can be tailored to the realities on the ground