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Manifesto for London launched

Further to their report on London Quangos costing £5.6 billion, London Councils have produced a Manifesto for London. It is robustly localist and has cross party support from councillors in London. The full thing is here but a summary is as follows:

To help us deliver more for Londoners we need central government to do
the following:

To improve Londoners' health and social care:

  • Make PCTs' non-acute care budgets accountable to the London borough in which they operate, to allow boroughs to direct those budgets to local need and integrate health other care services with NHS spending

To get more Londoners working:

  • Co-ordinate the funding streams of national back-to-work schemes and make them accountable to London boroughs collaborating through a joint board across the economic sub-regions of London.
  • Introduce flexibility in the management of benefits to help reduce disincentives to work.

To boost adult skills:

  • Devolve London's regional SFA and funding to the boroughs with the LSEB, freeing resources and allowing boroughs to develop schemes tailored to the specific needs of their residents.

To make policing more accountable to communities:

  •  Devolve neighbourhood policing budgets to enable boroughs to commission the services their communities need from the MPS.

To improve community justice and offender management:

  •  Support boroughs' work to integrate offender management, including financial incentives, and then make boroughs publicly accountable for their success in reducing re-offending.

To improve the safety and achievements of children:

  • Devolve the funding and duties of the Government Office for London to the London Safeguarding Children Board and deploy savings to boost frontline work in safeguarding children.
  • Devolve the funding and functions of the Young People's Learning Agency to the London Regional Planning Group.

To improve the co-ordination of transport services:

  • Transfer responsibility for overground rail services to TfL.
  • Co-ordinate specialist services, such as dial-a-ride, Taxicard and NHS patient services with borough transport services.
  • Give boroughs powers to set variable lane rental charges for roadworks by utilities.

To deliver more housing and investment:

  • End the inefficient housing revenue account system and allow boroughs to borrow against existing assets to invest in housing and infrastructure improvements.
  • Give boroughs powers to design a set of common investment vehicles able to support investment by all public services.
  • Lift regulations on the use of land assets to enable public services to pool their assets with borough-led land banks

To help reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills:

  • Devolve the regional share of relevant public grants and utility obligations to boroughs acting together with the Mayor of London.
  • Devolve responsibility and funding for retrofitting London homes to boroughs working with the Mayor, and allow them to keep a share of efficiency savings they deliver.

To better manage public space:

  • Re-write licensing regulations to allow London boroughs to deal more appropriately with, for example, lap dancing clubs and bars and cafes, and to set boundaries on the extent and scale of late night drinking in their areas.

To simplify and better incentivise public finances in difficult times:

  •  Change the basis on which population is counted for RSG to better reflect city populations.
  • Freeze RSG until a new system that has the active support of every region of England can be designed.
  • Ensure that a reformed system properly reflects regional variations in costs.
  • Allow boroughs to retain increases in council tax that comes from increased home building in their area for at least six years.

To share the benefits of devolution:

  • Wind up the Government Office for London (GoL), de-commission some of its functions and transfer remaining functions between central government and boroughs and the Mayor of London.
  • Where devolution exposes duplication in resources, savings should be shared between central and local government.

The deal for devolution

While all the proposals in this manifesto address different issues that Londoners care about, they are based on a common approach to better government.

  •  they do not cost more and they create space for savings
  • they allow better co-ordination and so better design and quality in public services
  • they make it possible to provide services tailored to provide solutions for different individuals and to offer one point of contact from all public service
  • they do not involve complicated re-organisation or mergers
  • they give people more power to shape decisions that affect them
  • they transfer financial responsibility and reward for success from
    central to local government and lock in limits on public spending
  • they create financial incentives to drive innovation across all London public services.


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