London leaders and Treasury agree enhanced devo deal

8 Mar 17

London’s local government leaders have signed a memorandum of understanding with Whitehall that outlines a road map for further devolution to the city.

Under the agreement, announced in today’s spring Budget, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the city’s boroughs will receive extra powers over transport, health, criminal justice and employment support.   

This comes in the wake of several high-profile devolution agreements struck between Whitehall and the English city regions, such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.  

The memorandum commits all parties to support and cement London’s future health plans, especially place-based, integrated health and social care systems, as well as estate reforms.

It also confirms the government’s commitment to following through its pledge in November’s Autumn Statement that the adult education budget would be devolved to London from 2019-20, subject to conditions.

From April 2017, the Greater London Authority will also take on responsibility for funding Transport for London’s investment grant. In return, the government will allow the capital to retain a higher share of business rates raised in the city, as part of the move towards 100% local retention.

Whitehall has also pledged to explore options for granting London councils the authority to pool business rates.

Commenting on the new agreement, Claire Kober, chair of London Councils, said it was a clear sign of confidence in London’s local government.

She said: “Alongside Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and other regions of the country, the capital is proud to be at the forefront of devolution.

“However, despite today’s positive news, we believe that there is more room for further transfer of power to both London and cities across the UK, and we will continue to argue the need for government to properly fund public services.”

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