One of London’s most senior councillors has called for greater devolution to the boroughs following last month’s vote to leave the European Union.
Calls for greater power and fiscal autonomy have been growing since the London Finance Commission, established by former Mayor Boris Johnson in 2012, recommended allowing councils and City Hall to retain more of the taxes collected in the capital.
In return, central government grants would be cut to ensure that the change was fiscally neutral while allowing local leaders long-term certainty about funding.
The demands for a shift of power away from Whitehall have amplified in the wake of the Brexit vote with local leaders, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, calling for greater autonomy for pro-EU areas.
Today Councillor Claire Kober, chair of the all-party body London Councils which represents the 32 boroughs and City of London Corporation, joined those calls and urged ministers to hand over “more power and resources” to Town Halls so that they could “protect Londoners’ public services and their quality of life”.
Kober said the boroughs should empowered to play “a vital role” in a range of functions, including healthcare, housing and skills and employment.
She commented: “Building on our work with the London Finance Commission, we have been working with the Mayor to develop plans that sustain growth and improve public services through devolution to City Hall and the boroughs.
“In the aftermath of the European Referendum 2016, it’s vital that central Government gives more power to London boroughs to work with the Mayor to get on with the job.”