British Queen celebrates


Delivering his keynote speech at today’s Centre for London conference, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will call on the Government to fulfil its promise for the proper devolution of power and

resources from Whitehall to cities and communities across the UK. 

The Mayor’s speech will criticise the Government’s current approach of using COVID-19 to ‘hoard power in Whitehall’, instead of working in partnership with local authorities and mayors to tackle the pandemic in key areas, such as test and trace and economic support. 

The Mayor has also spoken out against the Government’s ill-conceived and damaging overhaul of the planning system which has been dictated from Whitehall and will take away democratic control and local scrutiny from the planning process. Ministers are not merely hostile to elected devolved leaders, they are actively trying to undermine the UK’s long-standing devolution settlements. 

The Mayor is calling on the Government to take forward these proposals for more devolution, including a commitment to allow TfL to diversify its income to reduce overreliance on fares by granting London greater control over a wider range of tax revenues to fund the transport network.

Sadiq Khan, stressed:  “This Government declared before the last election that the days of Whitehall knows best are over. Yet their conduct during this pandemic has shown they believe the opposite is true, with Ministers treating local leaders as adversaries or with suspicion, rather than as trusted partners. 

“But worse than this, the Government has been using the cover of this national health emergency to undermine key parts of the devolution settlement – most notably by trying to control how London runs our world-renowned transport system. 

“If COVID-19 and the failures of the test and tracesystem has taught us anything, it’s that hoarding power at a national level doesn’t work. If we are to build back better as a city and a country, cities and communities around the UK need much more meaningful devolution and a weakening of the stranglehold of Whitehall.

“Boris Johnson was a strong advocate of more devolution when he was Mayor of London – the whole country would now benefit from him putting his words into action.”

Photo by Paul the Archivist, Wikimedia commons.