Government response

Devolution in England

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles responds to a report by the IPPR North think-tank.

The report, by the IPPR North think-tank, calls for a new wave of ‘metro mayors’ for city regions, and would give greater powers to vary taxes to local councils.

Eric Pickles said:

The Coalition government has delivered significant devolution of power and finance to local communities and there is real scope to go further in England.

However, localism in England should be about devolving power to the lowest appropriate level – down to councils, to neighbourhoods and to individuals. There may be some role for combined authorities on a strategic level to promote economic development and transport, but there is a real risk they will suck power upwards away from local councils and local taxpayers.

Nor should localism be a fig leaf for hitting hard-working people with a new range of municipal stealth taxes. Creating new taxes, more politicians and new tiers of local administration is not the answer – the starting point should be increasing local democracy and local accountability.