'Devolution Prospectus' published as east London sub-region moves a step closer
PUBLISHED: 08:41 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:22 23 March 2015
A groundbreaking plan to devolve powers to nine boroughs in east London is a step closer after the group published a document detailing how it would work.
Leaders and Mayors from Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest – which have a combined population of more than 2.5 million – have published their Devolution Prospectus, presenting the case for decentralisation of powers from central government and the Greater London Assembly (GLA).
The new document follows a conference last month in which the boroughs came to a broad agreement about the need for a new settlement.
Proposals set out in the document include a pooled budget for adult skills and budget holding and commissioning employment services.
Sub-regionally, the nine boroughs would remove restrictions on borrowing related to housing to allow each council to build more homes, and have more control over local bus routes.
On a borough level, the authorities would be able to intervene in all schools which are failing, and more power over incentives and penalties for business to help tackle rising numbers of takeaways and cheap alcohol.
Following the publication of this prospectus – intended as a discussion document – the boroughs will continue working on a business case establishing how powers would be exercised.
Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: “In the current climate, it’s fundamentally important that we identify new ways of working and innovative thinking to deliver services in the best possible way for our residents.
“Devolving more powers at a local level will allow us to consider new ways of providing key services including jobs, housing, education and transport. We’re working together to secure the best deal for our residents.”
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said: “This prospectus sets out an exciting vision for our nine boroughs, outlining how devolution could unleash the true potential of this area.
“Our boroughs offer the greatest opportunity for growth and development in the UK and we need to ensure the opportunity is not missed.
“The joint commitment demonstrated by all participating mayors and leaders show exactly why central government needs to pay close attention to conversations happening in this part of London.
“With a population of more than 2.5m, we cannot be ignored.
“By exploring this further, we can help secure a better deal not only for our sub-region but for the capital and the rest of the UK.”