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Devolution a ‘sham’ while UK Government holds the purse strings says Conservative

13 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Former Cambridgeshire & Peterborough mayor James Palmer.

Devolution is a “sham” while the UK Government continues to hold the purse strings, a Conservative politician has said.

James Palmer, a former ‘metro mayor’ for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said that devolution was a “smoke and mirrors exercise” and that what was really on offer was “puppet devolution”.

The aim was to “give the illusion of local autonomy while maintaining a firm grip on the process from the safety of Whitehall,” he said.

James Palmer, who is now the Chair of the Eastern Powerhouse, wrote in City AM that to be effective, devolution within the UK needed to devolve financial powers as well.

“The only way to achieve true local decision-making and devolution is to devolve fiscal responsibility,” he said.

“Any other route will end up in a fudge deliberately engineered by Whitehall to make it seem that only they can exercise power for the region.

“Keeping the regions weak and centralising power in Whitehall does not serve the people.”

‘Levers’

He was reacting to what the UK Government called “historic devolution deals” signed by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove last week that rolled out some devolution to Suffolk and Norfolk.

Last week also saw Cornwall sign its own devolution deal with the government, with long-term funding of £360 million.

“Empowering strong local leadership is key to levelling up and ensuring we spread opportunity and unlock the economic potential of communities across the country,” Michael Gove said.

“Ultimately it is local people who know what is best for their areas and it is my job to make sure local leaders have the levers to address the issues unique to them.”


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David thomas
David thomas
1 month ago

If the Westminster Tories spend less on health or education then Wales gets a cut to the same degree.
Devolution is smoke and mirrors.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

I agree devolution does not work in Cymru without full fiscal powers. Westminster can complain all it likes about it holding the purse strings but unless it gives us full control of our finances nothing will change. However, it does not want to relinquish the power. What we need is independence, that is only way we will have complete control of money in Cymru.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Been saying this for years. I bet the Welsh Conservatives will ignore this and continue to blame Welsh Labour Government for not spending enough on Health though.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

And, Welsh labour want a Conservative government in London so they can have someone to blame.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Clywch clywch! Please tell your colleagues in the Welsh Conservatize Party – and join Yes Cymru – unless you’re already a member 🙂

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

I agree with this. But if Wales were to be fiscally separate, there would be no further reason to be part of the UK. If he thinks this through, he should figure out that he is in effect advocating independence for Wales.

Nia James
Nia James
1 month ago

Devolution was designed to ensure that the London puppeteers ultimately held on to power through financial control. This was pointed out in 1997 and many of us have been arguing for Independence since that date.

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