New ‘devolution mission’ in Levelling Up paper ‘relevant in England only’ says UK Government
A key part of the UK Government’s plans to ‘level up’ parts of the UK outside of London by devolving more powers to a local level will only be relevant to England, they have said.
Billed as the ‘biggest shift of power from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times’ the plan promises to create new Mayors as already seen in Manchester and Liverpool across England.
The first nine areas invited to begin negotiations will be Cornwall, Derbyshire & Derby, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, Durham, Hull & East Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire & Nottingham, and Suffolk.
It also includes further devolution deals with the West Midlands and Greater Manchester to extend their powers – with these deals acting as blueprints for other Mayoral Combined Authorities to follow.
But the Levelling Up paper notes that the “local devolution mission is relevant in England only” with no new powers announced for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The UK Government do however add that the plan will see “decentralisation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to local areas in Scotland and Wales”. The Welsh Government have previously criticised the UK Government for bypassing them and handing money straight to local councils.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will unveil the government’s Levelling Up White Paper in the House of Commons today.
It includes a promise for domestic public investment in Research & Development to increase by at least 40% across Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, as well as parts of England such as the north of the country.
£50 million from the Safer Streets Fund will also be invested every year to give Police and Crime Commissioners, local authorities, and also certain civil society organisations in Wales and England the resources they need to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
“The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story. We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies,” Michael Gove said.
“Ours is the world’s most spoken language. We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.
“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.
“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.
“This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our 12 new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”
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