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LGA - Councils say constitutional convention must fast-track English devolution
Councils in England have outlined urgent calls for a Constitutional Convention to thrash out devolution to English communities.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, is calling for the Government to set an urgent timetable for devolution across England following the ‘no' vote in the Scottish Referendum.
The LGA said the Constitutional Convention's agenda should be to debate and agree a settlement which amongst other things should include:
- The policy and delivery of public services which should be taken at the national, regional, sub-regional and local area
- The consequent governance for those decisions
- devolution of funding and decisions on transport, skills and economic development to English cities and counties
- greater local decision-making about health and care devolved to those places
- devolution of an appropriate share of the tax base to pay for those things, creating the kind of fiscal arrangements which are the norm in other economically successful countries around the world
- the sharing-out of tax and spending between the four countries of the Union on a new, sustainable and fair basis
- a challenge to the governance of all the countries of the Union to ensure that as much decision-making as possible is brought as close as possible to the people.
LGA Chair Cllr David Sparks said:
"The Scottish Referendum has clearly demonstrated that there is a real appetite for the devolution of powers from Westminster which does not stop at the border. The UK will not be content to settle for the status quo and the new powers that Scotland will now receive must be given to local areas in England and Wales.
"It is locally-elected councils - driving their local economies through devolved taxation and greater control over council tax and business rates – which can satisfy the desire of people in England to have greater say in the places they live and work.
"The clock is ticking and we need to act now. That is why we have called for an urgent meeting of a Constitutional Convention to speed up the process of English devolution.
"We welcome the Labour Party's decision to set up a Constitutional Convention. We are keen to make sure that local government plays a positive role in taking this forward.
"We all have an historic opportunity between now and the next General Election to launch a new start for a refreshed and reinvigorated Union, with a healthier political culture made possible by bringing power closer to the people on whose behalf it is exercised. We believe that this will renew politics and trust in politicians."
Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3184
Media Office (for out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
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