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Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:13 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (jointly with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) 1:13 pm, 5th February 2020

I will get on shortly to the issue of council tax referendum limits. We continue to engage with colleagues across our local government family, on both sides of the political divide. If we have not engaged directly with Gloucester yet, I will ensure that we do so as part of our discussions.

Building on the mandate given in December to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, I want to set out how we will unite and level up our nation. We will devolve more power, money and influence back to communities across England. We will restore opportunity to our towns through our £3.6 billion towns fund, and we will work with every single local authority to make sure that they are the engines for economic growth in their community. This will be supported by the most generous financial settlement for a decade, while always ensuring that they have the resources to support the most vulnerable in society.

This Government are proudly the father and mother of English devolution to our regions. In the past three years, we have seen the creation of powerful metro Mayors in Liverpool, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle North of Tyne, the West of England, the West Midlands and Tees Valley. Together, those mayoral combined authorities have access to £6.35 billion of investment funding, more than £1 billion of the transforming cities fund, and £1.5 billion of the adult education budget.

We understand, however, that it is not possible to measure how well devolution is working simply by looking at how much money is being received. The real power of devolution comes through putting power back in the hands of local people, and that is why devolution works.