The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has welcomed the publication of a new London Devolution Agreement in the chancellor’s last budget.
Khan believes the announcement marks a major step towards London getting the control it needs to grow and protect the capital’s economy from the uncertainty of Brexit.
Since being elected last May, Khan, working alongside London Councils, has been negotiating with the treasury and Downing Street for a deal for London that would give the capital more powers and tools it needs to safeguard jobs, wealth and prosperity.
Now, the London Devolution Agreement builds on the commitments made by the chancellor in last year’s autumn statement, which included a record £3.15bn deal to build 90,000 new and genuinely affordable homes in London and the devolution of adult skills funding and employment services support.
As well as housing, further devolution granted to the capital also includes:
Infrastructure – London is set to pilot a new Development Rights Auction Model for funding future infrastructure projects. This new funding model will provide significant funding towards future projects – allowing them to be built quicker and with less reliance on government funding.
Business rates – The government will explore options for granting London more powers over the administration of business rates within London. This includes supporting the voluntary pooling of business rates in London, subject to appropriate governance structures being agreed.
Criminal justice – The chancellor has agreed to finalise a devolution deal on criminal justice services by June. The deal will look at working and co-commissioning of services between the government and the mayor – with the aim of improving services for victims and offenders in London. This will give the mayor far greater power to ensure services are tailored to the needs of the capital, helping to cut reoffending and make London a safer place for everyone.
Health – The chancellor also confirmed that an agreement has been reached to devolve a number of healthcare powers in London which will lead to better services that meet the needs of local communities.
Congestion – The London Devolution Agreement confirmed the devolution of new powers to allow the mayor and TfL to reduce congestion.
Skills - At last year’s autumn statement, the government announced that it will devolve the adult education budget to London from 2019-20, subject to readiness conditions. The government has today stated that it will continue to work with the mayor and London Councils so that employers can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the apprenticeship levy and will explore options for greater local influence over careers services, with a view to better matching skills provision and careers services with local needs and priorities.
Employment support – In the autumn statement, the government also announced that it will transfer the budget for the Work and Health Programme to London. The government has today committed to a new strategic dialogue with the mayor and London Councils on employment support. This will explore options for closer and better alignment of services for customers in London, to better support people actively looking for work, as well as those who need different forms of training and support.
Speaking after the budget, Khan said: “Today’s London Devolution Agreement shows that we get the best deal for Londoners when we put party politics aside and work closely with the government.
“I am pleased that the chancellor has recognised that giving London more control is vital if we are to protect jobs and investment in the aftermath of Brexit.
“London has a bigger population than Wales and Scotland combined, but we have far less control over how taxes are spent and public services are run.
“Giving London the ability to invest more in building crucial new infrastructure and devolving control of business rates will help increase economic growth and improve productivity.
"And granting London greater control over health, criminal justice, skills and back to work programmes will allow us to better improve the life chances of thousands of Londoners.”