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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

England’s new leaders: How mayors can transform their cities

Publication IPPR North Devolution & local leadership Report
Topic: Devolution & local leadership

We support the idea of a radical decentralisation of power away from Westminster. On a national level the devolved nations should have more powers to control their own affairs.

Decentralising power at a local level means devolving responsibilities and decisions to local areas that the people who live there actually identify with. In these cases, we believe directly elected mayors are the best means of holding local power accountable.

However, the local 'devolution revolution' has stalled due to no clear purpose, process or timescale; a culture of centralised thinking in Whitehall; and inflexibility from too many local political leaders. This has meant all the talk around devolution has failed to materialise on the ground.

Successfully rebooting devolution will require a common-sense approach. At a local level, devolution must be based on a series of clear and explicit principles concerning the geography and scale of devolution areas; a ‘menu’ or framework of the powers that could be devolved; and a range of options for reforms to governance that are appropriate for the level of devolution an area is seeking.

Our research looks at various aspects of devolution, including recommended common-sense approaches.