Councils cannot resubmit devo bids but Govt door 'always open'


Councils will not be given the option to resubmit devolution bids in light of the chancellor’s announcements at the Conservative Party conference, government officials have confirmed.

Local authorities had until the 4 September to submit devolution proposals to government, with the Treasury thought to have wanted time to consider the plans before any possible announcements in the November Spending Review.

However chancellor George Osborne appeared to pre-empt some potential major planks of the local submissions with his announcement on the devolution of all business rates by 2020 and his plans to allow areas with elected majors to put an infrastructure levy premium on local business rates.

The premium, which must have support of local business leaders through a majority vote of the business members of the Local Enterprise Partnership, is only available to areas with a directly elected mayor, potentially shifting councils’ perspective on the issue.

A DCLG spokeswoman confirmed that councils would not be able to resubmit bids, as the devolution arrangements are ‘ongoing’ and the Government continues to be open to discussions with councils on devolved powers, even those who have received powers in the past.

Transport Network can also confirm there will be no change at the Treasury’s Infrastructure UK unit in light of the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission. Despite a potential overlap in roles, Infrastructure UK, led by Lord O'Neill, will continue as normal.

Mr Osborne announced he has appointed Lord Adonis as the chair of the new commission, on an annual salary of £142,000 adjusted on a pro rata basis for his four day week.

The Government will introduce early legislation to establish the NIC on a permanent, statutory basis and expect the body to have a permanent staff of up to 30 people.

A long-term budget for the body ahs not been set yet, while government officials have revealed that it will operate within a remit set by the chancellor, which will include setting limits to the potential costs of the commission’s recommendations to taxpayers and consumers.

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