The London Assembly has branded as “flawed and inconsistent” the change of powers and responsibilities of the Greater London Authority.
A statement released by the Assembly shortly after Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for for Communities and Local Government, announced the increased powers for the Mayor and Assembly claims the Government has adopted a “pick and mix approach to governance in the capital”.
The changes see some planning powers transferred to the Mayor, a move the Assembly claim will leave “local people more remote from important decisions that could change the face of their neighbourhoods”.
Criticising the new arrangements London Assembly Chairman Brian Coleman AM said: “Relinquishing responsibility from Whitehall to City Hall with one hand, whilst snatching power away from London’s boroughs with the other, is scarcely a consistent approach to devolution.”
Under today’s announcement the London Assembly gains additional powers including
- The Assembly will be able to set its own budget and will publish an annual report setting out its work and achievements over the previous twelve months.
- The Assembly will be able to hold confirmation hearings for key appointments the Mayor proposes to make.
- The Mayor will be required to have specific regard to the views of the Assembly and the functional bodies in preparing or revising his strategies. He will need to provide reasoned justifications where he is not acting on their advice.
- The Mayor and Assembly will jointly appoint the Authority’s statutory posts. Most other GLA staff will be appointed by the Head of Paid Service.
His deputy Sally Hamwee AM claimed the changes showed the Government “clearly recognizes the importance of holding the Mayor to account in the public arena. It has given a vote of confidence in the power of effective scrutiny.”