Our colleagues at the LGA Lib Dem Group have circulated the following model motion on devolution of additional powers to local authorities. This motion applies only to England.
Motion: Devolution for Councils
a) The strong and enthusiastic participation shown by the people of Scotland in a remarkable democratic process leading to the Referendum on 18 September;
b) The resulting increased discussion on the devolution of powers from central government in Westminster and Whitehall.
I. That power should be devolved to the people in all parts of the United Kingdom;
II. That England is currently ruled by an over-centralised state that fails to reflect localities and regions;
III. That concentrating more power to English MPs in Westminster is not the answer for English devolution and that passing power down to local areas of England is essential.
Council therefore calls for:
[Our council’s] MPs, the Leader of the Council and [the Cabinet/Committee Chairs] to lobby for urgent major devolution of power, including tax raising and spending, from central government to the regions, counties, boroughs & districts and cities of England.
And that such lobbying should emphasise:
- That the devolution of powers and finance to English councils be carried out in ways that enhance and strengthen local democratic bodies. This must include agreement that it shall be for local people and communities to decide their form of democratic leadership without having a specific model imposed (for example directly elected Mayors) in return for more powers;
- A recognition that English devolution must include both large cities and county areas, as the many councils not within city regions must also gain greater powers and finance in order to build successful and prosperous futures.
As with Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland we should have regional assemblies to represent all parts of the country.
The idea of basing it on cities eg Manchester will still leave rural areas at a disadvantage. So to give balance to all of UK we need the same system not one that creates imbalance in a different direction.
Regards Cllr. Howard Ratledge.
English counties with a strong sense of identity, such as Gloucestershire or Cornwall, should have their own right to devolved powers without necessarily belonging to a regional assembly