Municipal enterprise

By Jack Airey | 13 April 2015

In the last year or so, there has been a significant gear change in devolution. Punctuated by calls for areas across the country to ‘not be forgotten’ and subsequent questions of whether to combine, or not to combine, political will and popular opinion have recently coalesced to underline that devolution is rising up the agenda.

By far the biggest product of this zeal has been Greater Manchester’s devolution deal. Having built on a long record of collaboration between councils, third sector bodies and the private sector, the combined authority has been dutifully rewarded with extra powers unmatched by any other region in the country, including London. As put by Sir Richard Leese, the deal was ‘revolutionary’.

Yet for all the encouragement the Greater Manchester Agreement has given to councils up and down the country, the deal seems to show that despite the rhetoric, autonomy still has to be earned. Any budding authority looking to secure devolution on the scale of Greater Manchester’s in the next parliament will therefore need a track record of competence and collaboration to even get a seat at the Treasury’s negotiation table.

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