Category Archives: Devolution

John Shipley: “Proportional representation would solve problems of Devolution Bill”

Lord Shipley
Lord Shipley

John Shipley, Party Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government, laid out the targets in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill that the Lib Dem Peers will be fighting for: 

My Lords, I welcome the Second Reading of the Bill and I am grateful to the Minister for her kind comments earlier. I welcome the Bill not because everything in it is right but because it represents a further and very important stage in achieving greater decentralisation and fiscal devolution within England, through which growth can be increased outside London faster and local government can make more effective use of public money by joining up service delivery. There will be a number of contributions today from these Benches and I welcome that, because there is a wealth of practical experience here to draw on. Some colleagues who are not able to speak today will be speaking in Committee.

The Minister was right to say that the record of the last Government in encouraging decentralisation was impressive. It was, however, only a start. Crucially, there is now a much clearer understanding that you cannot run the whole of England from London, so I support the principle behind the Bill. It will decentralise power out of Whitehall and enable fiscal devolution. Because it is an enabling Bill, it means that one size need not fit all and that it can be voluntary for combined authorities or councils to propose schemes that are generated locally and have some local ownership.

Continue reading John Shipley: “Proportional representation would solve problems of Devolution Bill”

Paul Tyler: Devolution – Who’s next? (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

The eagle-eyed among LDV readers may have noticed last week good coverage for Nick Clegg’s trip to Cornwall on St Piran’s Day. As well as the usual round of school and business visits, Nick took the opportunity to publish a joint article on Cornish devolution with local Lib Dem Council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Rowe. For some reason the local papers, which published it, haven’t put it online, so here’s a link to it on my own website.

For the first time, Jeremy and Nick spell out how Cornwall could use the Lib Dems’ proposed Devolution Enabling Act to form a Cornish Assembly, with powers over housing, education, health and public transport. They write:

Cornwall could alter right-to-buy, keeping back vital homes for 29,000 people waiting on the local housing list. We could change planning law and Council Tax so buying up second homes in Cornwall comes with a greater price. And Cornwall could blaze a trail, integrating local NHS services and funding with the social care which people rely on all year round – that alone could save millions of pounds and improve thousands of lives.

It’s great to see the political concept of devolution brought alive with real examples of how an Assembly could vary “one size fits all” rules made in London, but which just don’t suit the economy and environment elsewhere.

Cornwall’s great advantage is that there is a measure of political consensus – with the notable exception of the Tories! – about what they want. The Devolution Enabling Act, if we get it on the statute book after May, will let them take it.

The full article is here

Leading academics to discuss Welsh devolution with Lib Dem Wales Minister Jenny Randerson

Baroness Randerson
Baroness Randerson

Leading academics from across Wales will today (26 January) meet Lib Dem Wales Office Minister Jenny Randerson to discuss the future of Welsh devolution.

She will bring together experts from a number of Welsh universities to share their views on how the UK government can best deliver further devolution for Wales.

The roundtable event will provide the academics with an important opportunity to discuss and comment on the UK government’s Welsh devolution programme.

Baroness Randerson said the meeting would also aim to build on the UK government’s strong track record on devolution.

Baroness Randerson said:

It’s important that we hear a wide range of views on how we can deliver constitutional change that works for Wales.

The academics I’m meeting today are some of the best and brightest minds in Wales and have an excellent understanding of Welsh politics, history and society. Many of them also play a leading role in our universities – institutions which are key to a successful Welsh economy.

They will bring a fresh insight and analysis to some critically important issues for Wales.

I’m sure they will make a valuable contribution to the devolution programme and the debate around the future of Welsh governance.

Baroness Randerson will chair the discussion at The Wales Office’s Caspian Point office in Cardiff.

Paul Tyler: Devolution Dialogue on Democracy Day (via Lib Dem Voice)

Today is “Democracy Day”, a project running across BBC TV and Radio.  It’s fitting that in this same week, Nick Harvey and I have published proposals to bring decisions closer to those whom they affect: a prerequisite for real democracy in Britain.

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

Here on Liberal Democrat Voice, we have already had considerable debate over the merit of “devolution on demand” as compared to a big-bang, devolution-everywhere-now solution.  My views are well rehearsed!

However, the benefit of the CentreForum Devolution Dialogue in which Nick and I set out our alternative positions is that it brought us together in a greater measure of consensus than we anticipated.  Nick is still with those of you prefer to set out a scheme of devolution and press ahead with it everywhere.  His articulation of the case persuaded me that we should be more ambitious than simply letting everywhere devolve at their own pace.  He is right to say that we cannot leave some parts of the country permanently in limbo, still at the mercy of Westminster/Whitehall centralisation.

Full article here

Paul Tyler: Pledge in haste, repent at leisure (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Tyler
Lord Tyler

Having the scars on my back from attempts to reform the Lords, I know how inclined people are to declare constitutional reform ‘not thought through’. In the case of Lords Reform, this was patently ridiculous since introducing elections to the House has been the subject of more self-interested cogitation and political procrastination than just about any other subject.

Proposals for “devo-max” to Scotland are not ill-considered either. Our own redoubtable Menzies Campbell has produced two formidable reports on “Home Rule All Round”, setting out a federal future for the UK. Lord Strathclyde has produced a not dissimilar report on the subject for the Conservatives. Labour have their own similar (though moderately less ambitious) proposals. Even arch anti-devolutionist Michael Forsyth told the BBC he favours a federal solution now!

There is no haste on those issues, which are well-aired, and must now be addressed as promised. The panic measure is the Prime Minister’s desire to change the voting rights of Westminster MPs at the same ‘pace’ as further devolution to Scotland. I fear this tactic risks the success of both initiatives.

Full article here