Mixed attitudes towards devolved powers, survey reveals

A survey conducted by ComRes has found that the majority of local people feel they should be more involved in the devolution process and have mixed feelings about which powers should be devolved.

The survey, commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), found that 78 per cent of respondents would like to vote on which powers are devolved to their areas. The results suggested that public attitudes to local decision making on infrastructure are largely positive, with 74 per cent agreeing devotion will make local services more efficient.

The survey involved 1,700 people and revealed that 46 per cent said decisions regarding renewable energy facilities should be made locally, while 42 per cent wanted central control. Furthermore, 35 per cent wanted local control over train lines and stations versus 55 per cent who wanted decisions to be made centrally.

It found 71 per cent of respondents believed decisions concerning new motorways should be made by central government. The study also revealed that 52 per cent of respondents thought that devolution could help boost local economies, while 64 per cent believed a new fund to boost skills growth would have a positive impact.

Jonathan Spruce, from the ICE's State of the Nation: Devolution steering group, said: “The government's 'devolution revolution' is speeding up and the commitment is positive - locating powers closer to those it affects carries the potential for greater focus, investment and better decision making.

“However to get the most out of devolution, we need a better understanding on how and where it can work most effectively. We also need a better feel of the needs, ambition and capacity of each area to establish frameworks and assume the greater responsibility.”