Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

Consideration of amendments, House of Lords, Tuesday 12 January 2016

Key messages

  • The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it stands to give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable. The LGA supports the broadly enabling approach the Government has taken with the Bill, whose passage is critical to enabling local leaders to start delivering on the devolution deals that can unlock growth and improve public services in their areas.

  • Commons amendments 7, 8, and 31, among others (please see background), give the Secretary of State discretion to determine the composition of local governance arrangements and remove functions from local authorities without local consent. We urge the Government to clarify the exceptional circumstances under which these powers could be used and provide assurances that there would be adequate safeguards to protect the viability of all affected authorities.

  • Integrating social care and health and taking decisions closer to where people live is crucial to improving services, keeping older living in their homes for longer and closing health inequalities gaps. It is concerning that Commons amendment 45 enables the Government to take back devolved health service functions without local authority consent. The LGA wants there to be independent oversight providing due consideration of the impacts on residents if the Government seeks to use this power. 

Download the full LGA briefing:
Consideration of amendments, House of Lords, Tuesday 12 January 2016


Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 17 November 2015

Key messages

  • The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable. The LGA welcomes the enabling approach the Government has taken with the Bill, whose passage is critical to enabling local leaders to start delivering on the devolution deals that can unlock growth and improve public services in their areas.

  • Flexibility is needed for areas to be able to change their governance structures as the needs of their local area change. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked. The LGA urges the Government to support local areas to put in place governance arrangements that are most appropriate to their local circumstances.The LGA supports calls for a constitutional convention to determine the political settlement of the UK. The convention's remit should include devolution of responsibility for public services and fiscal powers to local government. We do not believe this need delay progress of the legislation currently before Parliament. For this reason, we support New Clause 19.

  • New Clause 34 brings in legal powers and duties to allow groups of councils, such as Transport for the North (TfN), to set up statutory Sub-National Transport Bodies (STBs) to advise transport ministers on investment priorities in their own areas and on strategic transport schemes to support growth.  A number of councils have already established regional partnerships and for some formalising existing arrangements is expected to bring them greater control and influence over the development of transport infrastructure. For this reason the LGA welcomes New Clause 34 but it is important that the Government is able to work with different regional partnerships on strategic transport infrastructure.  

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 17 November (pdf)


Report Stage, House of Commons, Monday 7 December 2015

Key messages

  • The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it stands to give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable. The LGA supports the broadly enabling approach the Government has taken with the Bill, whose passage is critical to enabling local leaders to start delivering on the devolution deals that can unlock growth and improve public services in their areas.

  • Amendments 7, 8, and 27, amongst others (please see background), give the Secretary of State discretion to determine the composition of local governance arrangements and remove functions from local authorities without local consent. We urge the Government to clarify the exceptional circumstances under which these powers could be used and provide assurances that there would be adequate safeguards to protect the viability of all affected authorities.

  • Integrating social care and health and taking decisions closer to where people live is crucial to improving services, keeping older living in their homes for longer and closing health inequalities gaps. It is concerning that amendment 34 enables the Government to take back devolved health service functions without local authority consent. We support amendment 60 which would ensure that there is independent oversight providing due consideration of the impacts on residents if the Government seeks to use this power. 

  • The LGA is calling for a convention to debate and agree a constitutional settlement for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As such, we support new clauses 1 to 4. The convention's remit should include devolution of responsibility for public services and fiscal powers to local government. 

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, Report Stage, House of Commons, Monday 7 December (pdf)


Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 17 November 2015

Key messages

  • The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable. The LGA welcomes the enabling approach the Government has taken with the Bill, whose passage is critical to enabling local leaders to start delivering on the devolution deals that can unlock growth and improve public services in their areas.

  • Flexibility is needed for areas to be able to change their governance structures as the needs of their local area change. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked. The LGA urges the Government to support local areas to put in place governance arrangements that are most appropriate to their local circumstances.The LGA supports calls for a constitutional convention to determine the political settlement of the UK. The convention's remit should include devolution of responsibility for public services and fiscal powers to local government. We do not believe this need delay progress of the legislation currently before Parliament. For this reason, we support New Clause 19.

  • New Clause 34 brings in legal powers and duties to allow groups of councils, such as Transport for the North (TfN), to set up statutory Sub-National Transport Bodies (STBs) to advise transport ministers on investment priorities in their own areas and on strategic transport schemes to support growth.  A number of councils have already established regional partnerships and for some formalising existing arrangements is expected to bring them greater control and influence over the development of transport infrastructure. For this reason the LGA welcomes New Clause 34 but it is important that the Government is able to work with different regional partnerships on strategic transport infrastructure.  

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 17 November (pdf)


Second Reading, House of Commons, Wednesday 14 October 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA has long argued for more powers to be devolved to local government. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better outcomes through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. Individual reports for each devolution order and an overall annual report will help advance the progress of devolution for all areas of the country.
  • Statements requiring ministers to demonstrate that all new domestic legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution will make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution is needed to realise the benefits of devolution, carefully planned and with proper consideration of fair funding. The LGA welcomed the Chancellor's recent announcement that local government will retain 100 per cent of business rates revenue and will have greater flexibility over rates in local areas.

Download the full LGA briefing:

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, Second Reading, House of Commons, Wednesday 14 October 2015


Third Reading - House of Lords, 21 July 2015

Key Messages

  • For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better outcomes through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. Individual reports for each order and overall annual reports will help advance the progress of devolution for all areas of the country.
  • Statements requiring ministers in other departments to demonstrate that new legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution will make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall. These additions have strengthened the Bill. 
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors where mayors may not be the appropriate solution.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill: Third reading (PDF)


Committee Stage, House of Commons, Wednesday 21 October 2015

Key messages

  • The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • Statements requiring ministers to demonstrate that all new domestic legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution would make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall, breaking down departmental silos. As such, clause 2 should not be removed from the Bill and amendments 3 and 29 should be opposed.
  • The LGA welcomes the enabling approach the Government has taken with the Bill, but the same flexibility is needed for areas to be able to change their governance structures as the needs of their local area change.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors, and we support the intention behind amendment 53.
  • Government changes brought forward in new schedule 1 provide welcome clarity on the definition of social care, important for the practicalities of delivering integrated care.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution is needed to realise the benefits of devolution, carefully planned and with proper consideration of fair funding. The LGA welcomed the announcement that local government will retain 100 per cent of business rates revenue and will have greater flexibility over rates in local areas. Multi-year finance settlements, as set out in amendment 58, are needed to allow councils to plan long-term. Greater local discretion should be given over fees and charges.
  • The LGA supports calls for a constitutional convention to determine the political settlement of the UK. The convention's remit should include devolution of responsibility for public services and fiscal powers to local government. We do not believe this need delay progress of the legislation currently before Parliament. For this reason, we support new clause 19.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, Third Reading, House of Commons, Wednesday 21 October 2015


Second Reading, House of Commons, Wednesday 14 October 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA has long argued for more powers to be devolved to local government. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give areas the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better outcomes through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. Individual reports for each devolution order and an overall annual report will help advance the progress of devolution for all areas of the country.
  • Statements requiring ministers to demonstrate that all new domestic legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution will make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution is needed to realise the benefits of devolution, carefully planned and with proper consideration of fair funding. The LGA welcomed the Chancellor's recent announcement that local government will retain 100 per cent of business rates revenue and will have greater flexibility over rates in local areas.

Download the full LGA briefing:

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, Second Reading, House of Commons, Wednesday 14 October 2015


Third Reading - House of Lords, 21 July 2015

Key Messages

  • For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better outcomes through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. Individual reports for each order and overall annual reports will help advance the progress of devolution for all areas of the country.
  • Statements requiring ministers in other departments to demonstrate that new legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution will make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall. These additions have strengthened the Bill. 
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors where mayors may not be the appropriate solution.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill: Third reading (PDF)


Report Stage, House of Lords, 13 July 2015

Key messages

  • For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better outcomes through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. Individual reports for each order are a welcome step but the Government should go further to provide an overall view of the progress of devolution across the country. For this reason the LGA welcomes amendment 1 which would introduce a duty to report on progress to Parliament.
  • Devolution statements requiring ministers in other departments to make a statement that new legislation is compatible with the principles of devolution would make sure the Government's ambitions for devolution are embedded across Whitehall. As such we support amendment 2.
  • Alongside legislative change, fairer funding for local services, and the freedom to pay for them, is needed to allow councils to tackle the big issues facing their residents and protect services which bind our communities together and protect our most vulnerable. The LGA supports amendments 58 and 59 on fiscal devolution which will help to deliver central and local government's shared agenda.
  • The extension of the general power of competence is a positive measure, but this should be as standard and not subject to the discretion of the Secretary of State, as would be achieved through amendment 61. The existing restrictions accompanying the general power of competence are sufficient to safeguard the extension to combined authorities.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill: Report Stage, House of Lords (PDF)


Committee Stage – Day Three, House of Lords, 29 June 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA has called for more powers to be devolved to local government to help tackle the big challenges facing our country. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step towards enabling city regions and non-metropolitan areas to take on the powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Beyond the scope of the Bill, the LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors for areas where mayors may not be appropriate.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution with proper consideration of fair funding is also required to ensure that the public services are sustainable. The LGA supports amendments 43, 44, and 44A on fiscal devolution which will help to deliver central and local government's shared agenda.
  • The Bill invests significant discretionary power in the Secretary of State with limited transparency of those decisions. For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better services through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. For this reason the LGA welcomes amendment 46A which would introduce a duty to report on progress to Parliament.
  • There are promising discussions taking place between London boroughs and the Mayor on how decision-making could be brought closer to local people. It is essential that the offer of devolution is extended to the capital and in light of this we support amendment 48A.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill


Committee Stage – Day Two, House of Lords, 24 June 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA has called for more powers to be devolved to local government to help tackle the big challenges facing our country. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step towards enabling city regions and non-metropolitan areas to take on the powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • Making decisions locally will bring significant economic and social benefits for city regions and counties. The LGA's report English Devolution: local solutions for a successful nation identified that devolution could bring £20.6 billion in potential savings, as well as increasing jobs and growth.
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Beyond the scope of the Bill, the LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors for areas where mayors may not be appropriate.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution with proper consideration of fair funding is also required to ensure that the public services are sustainable. The LGA supports amendments 43, 44, and 44A on fiscal devolution which will help to deliver central and local government's shared agenda.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill


Committee Stage – Day One, House of Lords, 22 June, 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA has called for more powers to be devolved to local government to help tackle the big challenges facing our country. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step towards enabling city regions and non-metropolitan areas to take on the powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Beyond the scope of the Bill, the LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors for areas where mayors may not be appropriate.
  • The Bill invests significant discretionary power in the Secretary of State with limited transparency of those decisions. For central and local government to meet our shared agenda to deliver growth and better services through devolution, decisions must be made transparently and in consultation with local areas. For this reason the LGA welcomes amendment 2 which would introduce a duty to report on progress to Parliament.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution with proper consideration of fair funding is also required to ensure that the public services are sustainable. The LGA supports amendments 43 and 44 on fiscal devolution which will help to deliver central and local government's shared agenda.

Download the full LGA briefing:
Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill (PDF 2 pages, 220KB)


LGA briefing: Second Reading, House of Lords

Key messages

  • The LGA has long argued for more powers to be devolved to local government. The Government's Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is a positive step as it will give combined authorities the range of powers they need to create jobs, build homes, strengthen healthy communities and protect the vulnerable.
  • Making decisions locally will bring significant economic and social benefits for city regions and counties. As recognised in the Bill, the push to decentralise power must include non-metropolitan areas and we are ready to work with the Government to meet this aspiration.
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the stronger local governance arrangements that may be needed where significant new responsibilities are devolved. Historically a top-down approach has not worked and several cities rejected elected mayors during referenda. The LGA wants to work with the Government to identify alternatives to elected mayors.
  • Alongside legislative change, fiscal devolution is also required, carefully planned and with proper consideration of fair funding. Meaningful devolution should include multi-year finance settlements, full retention of business rates growth, and powers to set rates and discounts. The LGA would like to see these measures added to the Bill to help deliver central and local government's shared agenda on devolution. 

Download the full LGA briefing:

Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill (PDF, 3 pages, 188KB)

6 January 2017