We need a real deal on devolution- new joint SPERI and CLES report

  • Brexit is a wake-up call to rethink UK governance and reform centre-local relations
  • Theresa May’s new government should reset the devolution agenda
  • Report sets out new ideas in eleven policy areas for future devolution deals

Devolution is a great opportunity.   After years of oppressive centralisation, the current devolution deals offers many local authorities and combined authorities a chance to break free and forge their own distinctive economic and social destiny.

However devolution is not without significant risks and challenges.  A new joint paper ‘The Real Deal: Pushing the parameters of devolution deals’ from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) explores the restrictions in the current devolution agenda, and presents ideas for a new settlement to make devolution a force for progressive change.

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of CLES, says:

‘It is increasingly clear that present devolution – whilst a unique opportunity – is flawed. Whilst the deals have started to reverse some of the problems of over-centralisation, devolution has been too constrained by the Treasury’s economic and social model, and cowed by the ongoing austerity, in which the poorest areas have suffered the most. This publication and collaboration between SPERI and CLES starts to think through what real devolution deals could look like and potentially herald a progressive and enduring social, economic, democratic and environmental future.”

The paper outlines eleven sets of ideas for further devolution deals and makes recommendations for employment policy, transport, energy and environmental policy, housing and land use, health, procurement, local banking, higher education, lottery funding and the democratic process.

Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, says:

“As a new government takes office this is a valuable opportunity to reset the devolution agenda in the UK. Bold new ideas to push the parameters of devolution deals are needed and we want this report to be taken up by mayors and combined authorities, new Ministers and the public.

“Crucially, devolution away from the centre cannot succeed without reform at the centre. The referendum result is a wake-up call to urgently reconsider the UK’s governance structures at all levels and we need to establish a central bedrock of decentralisation. This will require forging a genuine constitutional settlement for centre-local relations and for the new Prime Minister to put her money where her mouth and create a new industrial strategy.”

To download the report click here:  The Real Deal

For more information, or to discuss the issues raised in this paper, please contact:

Notes to editors:

Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute

The Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) is an academic institute based at the University of Sheffield. The institute aims to bring together leading international researchers, policy-makers, journalists and opinion formers to develop new ways of thinking about the economic and political challenges posed for the whole world by the current combination of financial crisis, shifting economic power and environmental threat.

Centre for Local Economic Strategies

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is an independent think/do organisation and network of organisations involved in regeneration, local economic development and local governance.  They are at the forefront of articulating and implementing progressive economic and social policy.