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Now Labour hints at some form of devolution

February 5, 2014

Following the news that the Liberal Democrats will be debating devolution as part of their constitutional reform motion at their Spring Conference in York, Hilary Benn is hinting that Labour will follow suit. In an interview with The Guardian today, Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, wants some sort of devolution to local communities.

A final key argument for devolution, he says, is the crisis of confidence in our politics. “We are looking at how you change the relationship between central and local government and how to use public resources to the best effect at the local level.”

Benn says councils are realising that to do certain things, such as co-commissioning the work programme, they need a critical mass. “The most exciting thing for me is that the map is being redrawn as councils recognise their shared interest,” he says. “If you are going to have a transport plan for the Leeds city region, for example, then Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees need to talk to each other.

“We are saying that powers will be devolved, but you need to get yourself organised in a way to use them effectively.”

It seems to imply that Labour sees large local authorities or city regions as the way forward which is not our preferred option. However, he does say that a ‘critical mass’ is needed. Frankly Yorkshire with its 5 million people provides that critical mass.

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