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28/01/2016

Cities and Local Government Devolution Act receives Royal Assent

Words: Laura Edgar

As the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act receives Royal Assent, new laws will see powers devolved to cities and regions.

The act will see metro mayors elected and local leaders in control of a range of powers, including transport, planning, health skills and jobs support.

The government said it would also enable the creation of sub-national transport bodies to advise the government on strategic schemes and investment priorities in their own area.

Chancellor George Osborne said the “devolution revolution” is the most “fundamental shake-up” of the way the country is governed in a generation.

“These new laws are a clear signal of our commitment to end the old model of running everything out of London.”

Communities secretary Greg Clark added that the act “underpins radical devolution deals already in place, but also opens the door for others to follow the example and come forward with their own proposals for having a far greater say over how their area develops over the coming years”.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said the Royal Assent of the act “is a critical milestone in the devolving of substantial powers to city-regions across the country”.

“In the short term,” she said, “it will enable the devolution deals already agreed (see below) to be delivered in the coming year. It will also allow for the finalising of similar deals with other city regions across the county.”

The passing, though, should be the beginning of the devolution process, not the end, said Jones.

“Over the longer term, city regions will want to build on the progress made so far, and emulate their international peers by taking on greater control over, and responsibility for, money raised and spent in their area.”

Today, (28 January), Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a city region deal has been reached with Aberdeen.

Deals have already been agreed with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Region, West Midlands Combined Authority, Shadow Tees Valley Combined Authority, the North East Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region.   

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