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our changing state: the realities of austerity and devolution

22 April 2016

One year on from our first roundtable and follow up report ‘The Path to Greater Regional Devolution’, the ‘devolution revolution’ has moved on considerably. Since February 2015 we have seen the Government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill receive Royal Assent, a national programme of area-based reviews of post 16 education and training as part of the Government’s ‘skills devolution’ agenda and the announcement that Cornwall is to become the first rural authority in England to agree a devolution deal.  

This period of unprecedented change raises a series of complex challenges, risks and concerns that demand further consideration, discussion and debate. Since the May 2015 General Election devolution deals with more than seven areas have been agreed so will local government structures become more confusing after devolution? What effect will this have on accountability? What conflicts will there be between the new combined authorities and existing local authority arrangements? What lessons can we learn from Welsh devolution? The Government has expressed a desire for greater fiscal devolution but is this realistic? 

Chaired by Sir Paul Jenkins, the former Treasury Solicitor, our second roundtable on devolution discussed these issues and many more with local and central government leaders, policy influencers and stakeholders including Centre for Cities, Department for Transport, Grant Thornton, Lawyers in Local Government, LGiU, Local Government Ombudsman, Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue, Staffordshire County Council, The Department for Communities and Local Government, The Financial Times, The National Forest Company and The Welsh Government. 

Our second report, Our Changing State: the Realities of Austerity and Devolution, summarises the key themes and thoughts that emerged from the roundtable and proposes a series of recommendations for further discussion and consideration by both local authorities and other key stakeholders as the country continues along the path towards even greater regional devolution. 

Download the report

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