cover image: A new deal for England - How the next government should complete the job of English devolution


A new deal for England - How the next government should complete the job of English devolution

8 May 2024

The government should set as a clear target that devolution deals will be agreed and implemented in areas covering at least 85% of England’s population and economic output by the end of the next parliament, with an agreed set of boundaries for the remaining set of deals and work under way to conclude the final set of deals. [...] Finally, the next government should review the impact of the recent introduction of the first-past-the-post system for mayoral elections, and consider a return to the previously used supplementary vote, or potentially the alternative vote model.50,51 Under these systems, candidates are incentivised to appeal to opposition voters for second preference votes and therefore to build a wider coalition. [...] The next government has the opportunity to begin to complete that map and to move devolution to the next stage, by replacing the current fragmented approach with a more coherent, consistent and transparent devolution offer to all parts of England. [...] • A focused remit: the remit of each DPAC will only cover the power to review the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of its own mayoral and MCA programmes.60 • Wide scrutiny powers (the power to send for persons and papers): DPACs should have the power to call witnesses – including metro mayors and their advisers – and to require the provision of financial information from the combined authorit. [...] • An escalation mechanism to Westminster: DPACs should have the ability to refer to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) serious issues of concern uncovered in relation to the use of public money by the MCA.* Parliament should also seek ways to support and entrench the new committees; for instance, by hosting an annual summit between the chairs of DPACs and the chair and deputy cha.
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United Kingdom