Khan calls for greater devolution to cities and regions

30 Aug 19

Challenges around housing, transport, skills and environment could be improved if cities were given more powers and funding, according to London’s mayor.

Devolving more control over tax revenues to city regions would be “one of the best ways of maintaining shared prosperity across the country”, according to a report released by Sadiq Khan today.

London “retains barely 6% of all the tax paid by Londoners and businesses”, the document highlighted.

Khan has said it is a “myth” that London receives more than its fair share of investment and suggested that public spending per head in London is not particularly high compared to the rest of the UK.

Spending per head in London is just over £10,000 per workday whereas the average in the rest of the UK it is closer to £11,000, the report said. 

Alongside ‘London and the UK – a declaration of interdependence’, the mayor also released the ‘London Industrial Strategy’, which said London has a “pivotal role” in the UK’s economic performance as a whole.

“London is a very successful economy which is pivotal to the UK’s economy, and has performed strongly over the past 20 years in terms of gross value added and employment growth,” the strategy document stated.  

The reports showed that inequality and poverty is a “major problem” in the capital with the average household income no higher than the rest of the UK when London housing costs are accounted for.

Khan said: “Problems such as inequality, skills, pollution and housing are much better understood at a more local level, and that’s why government needs to hand greater responsibility for solving these problems to cities and regions.

“We grow together and we succeed together. Each part of the country needs to have more power, and retain more of the taxes they pay.

“This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history – to ensure greater prosperity for London and the rest of the UK, we need to see an ambitious new devolution settlement for the English cities and regions.”

The mayor suggested that greater devolution now would protect the public against the “uncertainty and upheaval of Brexit”.

Ben Rogers, director of the Centre for London think tank, said: “cities and regions across the country face very different challenges and opportunities.

Devolution would give them the power to develop bespoke approaches to meeting these while responding to citizens’ desires for more control over their lives, especially as powers are returned from Brussels post-Brexit.”

The Institute for Government think-tank previously found that England was the worst UK nation when it comes to devolving powers.

Did you enjoy this article?