City Regions

Proposer
frankieroberto
State

Rejected

Vote Score

-1000

Age

2480 days


@frankieroberto edited democracy.md - almost 7 years ago

Devolution

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Local Government

The system of local government of England's biggest cities (namely Manchester, Liverpool/Merseyside, Leeds, Birmingham) shall be reformed such that they have City Authorities with directly elected mayors and elected assemblies. The City Authorities shall be given greater powers over transport, policing, strategic planning, economic development, emergency services. Existing local authorities shall continue to exist, with responsibility for education, waste, street maintenance and environmental issues.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - almost 7 years ago

This is an idea that’s been kicking around for a while, and has suffered from a few failed referendums – but it makes a lot of sense and would help England's other major cities catch up with London.

Floppy

@Floppy - almost 7 years ago

Is there any research or justification we can reference for why this is a good (or bad) idea?

philipjohn

@philipjohn - almost 7 years ago

I like the idea, but would ask why just cities? In urban areas you often have 3 levels of local authority - most citizens don't know the difference, or which one to talk to. Don't get me started on ineffective, grey-army parish councils either.

In fact, I'll just do another PR about this :)

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - almost 7 years ago

Hey us parish Councillors do the best we can! (given we don't have much power to do anything) On 13 Jan 2014 16:37, "philipjohn" [email protected] wrote:

I like the idea, but would ask why just cities? In urban areas you often have 3 levels of local authority - most citizens don't know the difference, or which one to talk to. Don't get me started on ineffective, grey-army parish councils either.

In fact, I'll just do another PR about this :)

β€” Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/63#issuecomment-32185953 .

philipjohn

@philipjohn - almost 7 years ago

Ha, sorry Paul! I'd much prefer to see parish councils replaced with empowered neighbourhood associations, if I'm honest. That's my blue sky thought for the day.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - almost 7 years ago

@PaulJRobinson yep, London is good model - the GLA has done great things for the city.

The key problem this aims to resolve is that the 4 cities mentioned currently have no central, directly elected authority to manage things which are clearly city-wide, such as transport (the main one) and economic development issues. Greater Manchester for example has no less than 10 separate authorities. There used to be Metropolitan County Councils, but Thatcher abolished them in 1985 for political reasons (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LocalGovernmentAct_1985).

Creating directly elected authorities for city regions, along with increased powers (such as the power to borrow money, to set the rate of local taxes, to develop infrastructure, and to specify public transport provision) would give them a much greater ability to develop.

There seems to be a fairly widespread consensus on this, and there are currently plans in place for 'Combined Authorities' (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_authority), already in place for Manchester – but these are a bit of a fudge really.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - almost 7 years ago

Following on from my last comment, I've done a PR with my thoughts. It is meant to complement the policy we have on devolution, too.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I can see the sense in having a city-wide council for things like integrated transport systems, so having re-read this I'm in agreement I think. πŸ‘

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

I'm gonna do a πŸ‘Ž on this one. The mayoral referendums showed there isn't an appetite for elected mayors, and I'm not convinced that mayors don't just create a politics of personality over policy. So until we have some clear evidence that this kind of system can improve local government, I don't think it should go in.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

@philipjohn how would you feel if the "elected mayor" part was removed, or made optional? I think the unified council idea is worth keeping even if we backed off the mayor part perhaps.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

It would help, but then my earlier comment about 'why just cities' still applies. I don't like the idea of cities having more power than rural areas. I am a country boy though ;)

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

We wouldn't want them to have more power, just to be able to manage some things across a wider area than a single council. It's the city-wide transport argument that makes this for me. There is a lot in common with #74, perhaps we need to reconsider both of these together as a reform of local council structures.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

BTW, I'm also a country boy ;)

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Yay countryside!

Hmm okay, I'd almost forgotten about #74. In that, I've basically made all local councils unitary authorities and abolished counties.

So, I think we could modify that to add a "city assembly" whereby the unitary authorities in a city area also come together to form a city-wide collective that can operate in concert with each other over areas like infrastructure etc.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 6 years ago

@philipjohn the mayoral referendums that have failed have generally been to just replace council leaders with directly elected mayors. What this PR proposes is something different: creating new local authorities that cover 'city regions' (i.e. cities and their suburbs) with responsibilities for things like transport, policing and planning. So for instance, in Liverpool this would cover the area of 6 councils, and in Manchester it'd cover 10 councils.

Note that some of this already happens through strategic partnerships and (newer) 'combined authorities' (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GreaterManchesterCombinedAuthority and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halton,Knowsley,Liverpool,StHelens,SeftonandWirralCombinedAuthority) – so this would be an evolution of those, with directly-elected mayors and assemblies.

The real justification for this change is that it would give those cities the potential to develop economically, as well as improving the urban realm, such that they stand a better chance of competing with London.

@frankieroberto edited democracy.md - almost 7 years ago

Devolution

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Local Government

The system of local government of England's biggest cities (namely Manchester, Liverpool/Merseyside, Leeds, Birmingham) shall be reformed such that they have City Authorities with directly elected mayors and elected assemblies, replacing existing Combined Authorities. The City Authorities shall be given responsibility for transport, policing, strategic planning, economic development and emergency services. Existing local authorities shall continue to exist, with responsibility for education, waste, street maintenance and environmental issues.

The City Authorities will be able to raise funds through a precept on the council tax, supplemental business rates, and through borrowing for capital expenditure.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

I think I agree with you on everything apart from the mayors though. I'm not convinced there's any benefit to show for having a directly elected mayor over the current system.

All the rest, I believe, should be covered in #74 - perhaps we could work on combining them into something?

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 6 years ago

@philipjohn I think there's a huge benefit to directly elected mayors, in that it gives the local population a lot more visibility and say over the key person who will be the figurehead and decisionmaker of their area.

The alternative would be having a second wide-area council (remember that the City Authorities are in addition to local councils). Given that I'm proposing an elected Assembly who would scrutinise the Mayor & approve budget, you could imagine that they might elect a mayor from within their group – but I don't see how this would be an improvement to electing the Mayor directly.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

I'm gonna have to counter that by referring to #71 :)

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I'd love to get this and #74 merged in, but I think they overlap quite extensively. Shall we organise a group-editing hangout or something to hash this out directly?

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Sounds good!

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 6 years ago

I think there are a couple of fundamental difference between this and #74 (such as whether to split up Birmingham or not), but I'm happy to have the debate.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Agreed, I think the only way to resolve them will be to discuss in person and arrive at something we can merge in. Anyone fancy calling a doodle poll or something?

Floppy

@Floppy - about 6 years ago

Post-indyref, we need to revisit this and #74 in the light of the federalist idea now laid out in http://openpolitics.org.uk/manifesto/democracy.html#devolution. Anyone volunteer to bring it all together?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

Yeah I'm up for that

β€” Sent from Mailbox

On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

Post-indyref, we need to revisit this and #74 in the light of the federalist idea now laid out in http://openpolitics.org.uk/manifesto/democracy.html#devolution. Anyone volunteer to bring it all together?

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub: https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/63#issuecomment-57989067

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

Going to close this one, as it's long dead, and the devolution text in the manifesto has moved on substantially. @frankieroberto, feel free to revisit the idea based on the current text though :)