English councils demand their own devo-max

9 Sep 14

Councils in England have said that plans being set out by the three main unionist parties to boost the remit of the Holyrood in the event of a no vote in next week’s Scottish independence referendum must be matched by additional powers for town halls.

Responding to the announcement by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour that a process to devolve additional powers would begin immediately after a no vote on September 18, the Local Government Association called for a similar offer to be made in England.

Chair David Sparks said the promise to devolve greater financial powers to Scotland acknowledged the important principle that decisions affecting people’s day-to-day lives are best made close to where they work and live.

However, such powers andfreedoms should not just be an exclusive privilege for one country in the union, he insisted.

The LGA has already called for a host of additional powers – such as greater control over council tax and full oversight of schools – to be given to town halls in the first 100 days of a new government after next May’s general election.

‘New powers being offered to Scotland in the event of a no vote must be given to every local area in England and Wales. The appetite for devolution does not stop at the border and the rest of the UK will not be content to settle for the status quo.

‘Local areas across the country need to be set free from the grip of Whitehall and allowed to raise and spend money in a way which will best serve the people who live there, from equipping them with the skills for work to being able build the homes people need.’

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