New ResPublica report on devolution: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2020 | 21 October 2020

Today the think-tank ResPublica has launched a new report, examining devolution for the areas outside of the city regions.

ResPublica explored similar themes in a report for the County Councils Network in 2017, with the report arguing that county council and unitary counties’ geographies were the ‘building blocks’ for devolution. Download it here.

Below, the network responds to today’s report.

A County Councils Network spokesperson said:

“We look forward to studying in detail ResPublica’s latest contribution to the continuing debate on devolution and reform. We agree with their central argument that a one size fits all policy to devolution is inflexible: our member councils were willing to embrace differing models of devolution: from county mayors, to mayoral combined authorities, to non-mayoral authorities, with or without unitary reform.

“In their previous report for the County Councils Network, ResPublica made a compelling argument for devolution and reform at the county scale: concluding that existing county and unitary geographies are the essential building blocks for transformative devolution. However, in many places this report contradicts the evidence and arguments presented in their previous work. ResPublica’s central premise on size, geographical footprints and economies of scale in this latest report are the polar opposite to many of the arguments they have previously made.

“With the economic recovery from Coronavirus crucial, it is important that devolution is delivered to the geographies where it can be maximised so we can create the jobs of tomorrow and give ourselves the best chance of rebuilding and reshaping. County boundaries are an asset, not a brick wall: with the ability to reach into district and parish economies, but reflect how people live their lives and where they work in individual counties, while providing the best opportunity to secure efficiency savings and growth if areas choose to pursue structural reform.”

CCN’s chairman Cllr David Williams will be speaking at an event to launch the report later today.