Commons committee to investigate impact of devolution deals

An inquiry has been launched into the effectiveness of devolution as another Yorkshire deal is on the cusp of being signed off.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has launched the study, looking at the impact of recently agreed devolution agreements and asking if the transfer of further powers to England’s regions can boost local economies and provision of public services.

The newly-signed South Yorkshire deal will likely be a topic of discussion, as will a forthcoming West Yorkshire deal which is understood to be in its final stages.

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The inquiry will examine the impact of devolving increased powers in the cities and regions where deals have been agreed, and consider how any benefits can be realised in more areas of the country.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has launched an inquiry.

It will investigate the effectiveness of the current strategy of developing bespoke deals region by region, and ask if increasing available powers without wider systemic changes would produce similar benefits. The Committee will investigate the roles of directly elected mayors, quality of scrutiny in decision making and public accountability.

Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said: “The approach the Government has taken is to develop bespoke arrangements for different areas, both in terms of the powers devolved to them and the administrative systems to execute them.

“We have launched this inquiry to understand the impact of the current approach. Has tailoring devolution to each locality improved decision making, the local economy and public services?

“Most importantly, we want to discover what opportunities there are for improving outcomes across the country.

“Notably in areas such as transport and health where provision doesn’t match existing local government structures, but also in improving the local economy, environment and infrastructure. We will be looking to see how improved devolution can boost cities and regions, and how it can be implemented more quickly.”

It was reported last week that a deal in West Yorkshire was now down to the “nuts and bolts” while a South Yorkshire deal was finalised in January.

Leaders in North Yorkshire, and the East Riding and Hull, are also discussing options.