We have heard a lot about Devo Max in the run up to the Scottish Independence referendum
but what about Devo Manc.
A radical plan to give Greater Manchester greater control of its finances and an elected Mayor is being proposed by the independent think tank ResPublica.
The new report, Devo Max, Devo Manc: Place-based public services, argues that Greater Manchester should be fully devolved with control over all public spending.
In short, Greater Manchester should have what Scotland wants.
The report includes a call to action and sets out a roadmap for such devolution to take place.
It says that within 100 days of the next Parliament, a ministerial led group should agree the steps to devolution.
As part of the new settlement Greater Manchester will commit to devolving further to localities taking savings and local initiatives as near to their consumers as possible.
One of the reports authors Philip Blond says:
“For decades we’ve watched England’s cities sliding into decline. This is why England needs devolution. Financial freedom must come to Greater Manchester. Its population is bigger than Northern Ireland’s. Its economy is bigger than Wales. And it has a higher growth rate than Scotland. This is why it should be able to set its own taxes. It should have an elected Mayor. These plans outlined in today’s report, will allow it to turn its fortunes around, lifting the population out of the doldrums. This is a blueprint for independence for cities in England”
The report recommends that Total Manchester public spending should be brought under the control of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, under a new governance structure that includes a local board and relevant Secretaries of State.
The changes should begin by giving power over property taxes, before moving on to income taxes and that
powers to reinvest savings and proceeds locally, while a percentage of overheads remains with Whitehall.
As part of the devolution process the region should create a new democratic system with an elected Assembly led by the Mayor of Manchester.
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, commented
“We welcome the broad thrust of this independent analysis which makes a case for total devolution to city regions on a scale that recognises the game-changing potential to both reduce public spending and boost growth. This full devolution model echoes our ambition, and we welcome Respublica’s view that Greater Manchester would be uniquely placed to pioneer it.”