‘Austerity cosh’ failing devolution

A new report has claimed that devolution is being ‘underpowered’ and is failing under the current ‘austerity cosh’.

A joint study from the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute and Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), entitled ‘The Real Deal, Pushing the parameters of devolution deals’, has said that the government’s intentions to distribute powers locally had been ‘underpowered’ and ‘too constrained by the Treasury’s economic and social model’, leaving the authors ‘disappointed by the present agenda’.

Focusing on the likely outcomes of the UK leaving the EU, the report sats that there is need, perhaps more now than ever, for ‘progress towards devolution to go hand-in-hand with a move away from austerity’.

Neil McInroy, chief executive of CLES, said: “It is increasingly clear that present devolution - whilst a unique opportunity - is flawed. Whilst the deals have started to reverse some of the problems of over-centralisation, devolution has been too constrained by the Treasury’s economic and social model, and cowed by the ongoing austerity, in which the poorest areas have suffered the most.”