London’s boroughs have set out a list of demands for new responsibilities that should be devolved to local government after the general election.
Chief among the proposals in the Manifesto for Londoners produced by London Councils is the devolution of responsibility for providing healthcare and welfare services.
The proposals include:
- integrating non-acute care budgets of primary care trusts with all other local care services
- devolving Jobcentre Plus programmes and other back-to-work schemes to boroughs
- devolving the funding and work of the Government Office for London on safeguarding children to the borough-led London Safeguarding Children Board
- responsibility for neighbourhood policing budgets passed to boroughs
The manifesto also calls for the dismantling of the Government Office for London and the abolition of the comprehensive area assessment in London with all savings returned to the Treasury.
The plans – which have cross-party support in the capital – were described as “throwing down a gauntlet” to the next government.
“The global recession has left a new environment,” London Councils chairman Merrick Cockell said. “Councils need more powers to help Londoners find jobs, feel safe on the streets, improve their local areas, get the healthcare they need, and make sure their children are protected.
“Local government has long called for devolution but our proposals in this manifesto are by far the most comprehensive, detailed and ambitious. We are now throwing down the gauntlet to any new government to work with us to drive forward this pioneering vision.”
While London Councils has been careful not to call for anything that involves new funding from government, it has called for ministers to encourage joint working by allocating funding for future programmes to priorities that do not fit into a single department’s remit and making departments bid for the leadership of the programme by submitting business cases.