Plans finalise for devolution power grab in east London

Last month's devolution conference at Old Town Hall, Stratford

Last month's devolution conference at Old Town Hall, Stratford - Credit: Archant

A ground-breaking plan to devolve powers to eight boroughs in east London will soon be a step closer when a document that details how it would work is published this week.

Council leaders, including Lutfur Rahman, are currently finalising the Devolution Prospectus which presents the case for the decentralisation of powers from central government and City Hall to borough councils.

The prospectus is the work of leaders and mayors from Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, which have a combined population of 2.2 million people.

Hackney Council is no longer part of east London group fighting for devolution.

Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The growth and development opportunities that exist across our sub-region of East London are currently unique to the capital.

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“With eight mayors and borough leaders jointly committed to harnessing and maximising those collective possibilities, East London could become an exciting new powerhouse of London and the wider UK. Our vision is to leverage the best possible outcomes for our 2.2 million residents, to maximise our collective resources and to support the future that our sub-region deserves.”

Powers set out in the prospectus could include the removal of restrictions on borrowing.

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Council leaders claim this will enable them to build more homes, gain control of bus routes as well as powers over incentives and penalties for local businesses, which could help tackle problems like cheap alcohol.

It would also give them the power to impose local authority licensing schemes – similar to Newham Council’s mandatory private sector licensing scheme.

The next step is for the alliance of boroughs to develop a business case establishing where devolved powers would be best exercised at the sub-regional level.

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