Devolution Bulletin - December 2022

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Devolution Bulletin

December 2022

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Welcome to the (slightly late) December 2022 edition of the LGA’s Devolution Improvement and Support Bulletin. Wishing you all a happy new year! 

In last year's Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced progress on three devolution deals. The Government has agreed a mayoral deal with Suffolk County Council (although this has not yet been signed), and advanced discussions are underway with Cornwall Council, Norfolk County Council and the North East of England to agree mayoral devolution deals too. 

We continue to support areas negotiating or preparing for devolution deals at the LGA, and last November held two webinars for these areas. These webinars looked at how to successfully manage the creation of a combined authority, and how to build engagement with devolution through good communication, which also covered the process of formal consultation on a deal. Slides are available for these sessions on the LGA’s website 

If there’s something you’d like to see in a future webinar from the LGA, please get in touch 


Unitary demands bus franchising powers without devo deal 

Milton Keynes Council has passed a motion (£) calling for control over the city's bus services but hopes to avoid seeking a devolution deal which would be "ridiculous". Paul Thomas, Director of Placemaking and Planning said the council thinks a “devolution deal to get a bus franchise is a bit ridiculous”.

Research suggests that Mayors aren’t enough to meet people’s ambitions for their local area

The survey results are in from We're Right Here: the campaign for community power. Partnering with Opinium Research, they asked people across the country what would make them have more pride in their area and what would give them more control over local decisions.


New devolution deals

New devolution deals for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cornwall were announced in the Autumn Statement.  Norfolk’s deal, which includes a £600 million investment over 30 years, and a directly elected leader was published on 8 December. Suffolk’s deal, also published on 8 December, transfers new powers, a £480 million investment fund over 30 years, and also involves a directly elected mayor. Cornwall’s deal, published on 2 December similarly includes a directly elected mayor and will provide Cornwall with a £360 million fund over 30 years.  

Subnational government in England

The paper from the Institute for Government finds that In other countries, responsibilities that are centralised in England are often devolved to a regional tier – or are at least determined at a larger economic geography than local authorities. In England, unitary local authorities cover less than a tenth of the population of the regional government tier in other countries, on average.

Local place leadership - good practice for levelling up

This document from the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) brings together content and feedback from the ADEPT / Amey Excellence in Place Leadership programme (EIPL), to shine a light on what places have learned so far about levelling up locally. It draws on case studies and examples from local authorities that have shown leadership to shape their own levelling up goals and formed partnerships to deliver change in their areas.

Levelling up for people and places: overview

This document looks at content and feedback from the ADEPT project exploring how local authorities are levelling up through action to address disparities in multiple domains – public health, local environmental quality, exposure to climate risk and socio-economic deprivation. has been brought together in this document .

Report shows levelling up has long way to go in the East of England

This report has analysed the East of England’s level of confidence in achieving the Government’s 12 levelling up missions, with targets set for 2030. It finds that levelling up in the East of England is a welcome ambition but there is still a “very long way to go” if all twelve missions are to be achieved in the timescales indicated in the White Paper. 

German Reunification - Lessons from the German approach to closing regional economic divides

In this essay, part of the Navigating Economic Change series produced by the Economy 2030 Enquiry, Kathrin Enenkel and Felix Rösel explore Germany’s sudden reunification in 1990, a large shock to which the German government responded with unprecedented scale, and the implications and lessons the  German experience holds for the UK today.

Visitors staying in Manchester to pay 'tourist tax' from next April

Tourists to Manchester city centre will have to pay a new ‘tax’ from April next year to fund a business improvement district group. The new Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement District (ABID) will ‘improve the visitor experience’ to the city centre and ‘support the growth of the visitor economy’ for the next five years. The new charge will cost guests only £1 per night.

Combined authorities and the creative industries

This report explores the role of combined authorities in relation to the creative industries and the potential of new opportunities for combined authorities to fulfil this role.

Levelling Up for People and Places

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) led a project to explore how councils are levelling up through action to address disparities in multiple domains – public health, local environmental quality, exposure to climate risk and socio-economic deprivation. The project included a series of case studies which look across local government service areas. The case studies illustrate that every council area has disparities within it, and whilst the levelling-up agenda has had a strong focus on inter-regional differences, the need to address inequality is relevant to every place.

In Parliament

Devolution in England

Statement made on 8 December 2022

In a written Ministerial statement on devolution in England, the Secretary of State confirmed Government’s commitment to ensuring that by 2030 every part of England that wants one will have a devolution deal. As well as providing updates on current devolution deals, the statement sets out four commitments for 2023: to conclude the ‘trailblazer’ deeper devolution deals with the Greater Manchester and West Midlands Combined Authorities, and to begin talks with other combined authorities; to publish a Devolution Accountability Framework, and to publish a Funding Simplification Plan. Finally, Government indicates it will begin discussions in early 2023 with places interested in exploring the opportunities for devolution deals with a directly elected leader. The LGA will share more information as soon as its available. In the meantime, please contact your Principal Adviser should you require any support. The LGA will continue to make the case for different governance models to suit different places.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Further consideration to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill has been made through correspondence from the Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.

Second round of Levelling- Up funds to help rejuvenate UK regions delayed again

Successful bids for a slice of the £4.8bn will hopefully be announced later this month.

Councils had originally been told to apply for phase 2 of the flagship Levelling Up fund designed to finance local capital projects by 6 July 22, in the expectation of an announcement in October. Shortly after taking over as Prime minister, Rishi Sunak promised that the successful second round bids would be announced by the end of 2022. The announcement had been pencilled in for early December, but councils have now been told not to expect it until January.


Powering up future growth – is devolution the solution?

Thursday 19th January, 15:00-17:00

KPMG Manchester, 1 St Peter’s Square, M2 3AE

The Devo 3.0 Symposium will be a first opportunity to look at what the Rt Hon Gordon Brown’s constitutional commission report A New Britain: Renewing Our Democracy and Rebuilding Our Economy means for English cities, towns and regions and what a  decentralised future would look like. It aims to address some of the big questions on devolved powers, scrutiny and accountability and why constitutional reform could be the nettle that successive governments have failed to grasp.

The Economic Growth Advisers Programme: 2022/23 Showcase

Tuesday 28 February 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

This webinar will spotlight economic growth case studies undertaken by local authorities through the Economic Growth Advisers (EGA) programme. The EGA programme provides bespoke support to councils in areas related to economic growth through an adviser procured by the LGA.

Speakers will discuss the challenges and opportunities they have experienced to grow their local economy through these case studies and the lessons learned from setting out a roadmap to deliver these projects.

Sharing ideas

Welcome to Jenni

Jenni French has recently started work at the LGA as the Programme Lead for Devolution and Levelling Up. Jenni’s role will be to support Combined Authorities and those who have Devolutions Deals or are looking to secure deals. If you have any thoughts or ideas that you want to share with Jenni regarding this Bulletin or the types of support that the LGA offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email

The LGA are always looking for opportunities for authorities who are already devolved, have a deal in place or are starting on that devolution journey to show case their work – especially where this activity will help inform others who may be experiencing similar issues

Please pass this bulletin on to any individuals or teams who you may think would benefit from it, and if you are not already on our mailing list but would like to join, please register your interest.

 For wider LGA support, please contact your regional principal adviser.