The UK system of Government is one of the most centralised in the developed world, with power and funding concentrated in Westminster and Whitehall. These twin pressures of funding reductions and rising demand mean the Government must find different ways to deliver services with less funding over the Spending Review 2015 period and likely beyond. The decision to leave the EU puts this into even sharper focus, as economic uncertainty could put at risk the Government’s public spending plans, and will undoubtedly take up significant additional capacity of the Government and civil service in delivering meaningful public service reform.
The case for devolution to city and regional government has been further strengthened by the economic and constitutional effects of the EU referendum result, particularly in London, which is likely to suffer a bigger economic impact than elsewhere in the UK. We believe immediate action is required to address this risk to the nation’s public finances and economic wellbeing
Despite good progress in the last year, particularly in skills and health, we believe further devolution is required if London’s funding and service pressures are to be met. London Government has therefore been working together on a set of proposals for greater service or functional devolution to London local government and the Greater London Authority. These include:
Skills and employment
Devolution of all post 16 skills responsibility, powers and associated funding to London, including: the Adult Education Budget (AEB); 16 to 19 skills; control over unspent London Apprenticeship Levy revenue; the National Careers Service; fully devolved control and funding of £55 million to jointly commission and design the Work and Health Programme (as set out in the 2015 Spending Review); and commitment from Government to ensure that leaving the EU does not adversely affect the amount of skills and employability funding (currently around £422m) received in the capital.
Discussions about the devolution of London’s inner-suburban rail services to TfL over a number of years, to enable the improvements in service and usage seen through the introduction of London Overground.
Housing and planning
A package of funding, planning, and land measures to increase the supply of new homes in the capital.
Health and social care
Following the London Health Devolution Agreement we reached with government in December 2015; London Partners have been developing proposals to address the urgent need to improve both access to and quality of care in London. Working with government, proposals are being developed to address this challenge through reforms to the management of the health care estate, integration of care supported by changes to financial and regulatory rules; and more effective action to prevent ill health. London looks to the Autumn Statement to signal government’s readiness to conclude a comprehensive agreement later in the year on the timetable agreed in the 2015 protocols.
Includes proposals to improve rehabilitation across a range of groups and to embed reform in the wider criminal justice system.