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East and North East London boroughs formalise partnership to seek new devolution settlement

Leaders and Mayors of seven London boroughs are ramping up calls for a new devolution settlement for London’s sub-regions to unlock the potential of the area.

Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest Councils are recruiting for a director to represent the Local London partnership and taking steps to formalise the grouping by moving towards a joint committee arrangement.

The boroughs have been working together for the past year following the publication of a pioneering prospectus in March 2015, which set out a shared set of principles and vision for devolution to the sub-region.

This laid the foundations for ongoing work towards building a clear and compelling case for more powers so we can deliver for our residents and reap wider benefits for the country as a whole.

The seven local authorities already have experience of working successfully together across a range of issues, demonstrating the value and effectiveness of local government collaboration. For example, during the Olympics four of Local London’s members worked together with fellow host boroughs to secure a lasting legacy by opening up jobs for local people, supporting the smooth delivery of the Games and maximising access and benefits to our residents of the Games infrastructure.

The Local London partnership will build on this success and work to fully realise the potential of all our boroughs in east and north east London, which are at the heart of London’s economic growth.

Work to date has seen the boroughs come together productively across traditional party boundaries on a number of policy areas including employment, skills, health and social care for the benefit of the local communities that we serve.

The joint initiative looks to take advantage of the opportunities that arise from growth in the sub-region, and devolution of power and responsibilities from central government.

These seven boroughs alone will account for more than a quarter of London’s population growth to 2030. Nowhere else in the country offers the same prospects for economic growth.

Together the boroughs are home to many of London’s economic hubs, its sole Enterprise Zone and seven of the capital’s Housing Zones. The level of jobs growth and new housing in the area is unparalleled.

This week the Local London partnership elected Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, as Chair. Sir Robin said:

“As a group, we have come a long way towards building shared understanding and establishing a common vision for the future. Across the seven boroughs there is agreement that a new settlement for our part of London is necessary.

 “This deal needs to reflect and respect the views of local people, giving them a real say in how their community is run. It also needs to empower local authorities to meet the challenge of historic reductions in funding. Only once this deal has been agreed, can we collectively unlock the true potential of our boroughs.”

Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council and joint chair of the working group that has guided Local London’s work over the last year, said:

We’ve taken the decision to work together as Local London because we want to deliver a better deal for our residents.

“By working together we believe we can address issues that impact on all of us in a more coordinated way. When we’re all facing the same problems we want to be able to speak with one voice so that government understands we are united in our determination to ensure we get a fair deal for our communities.

 “Government is saying it wants to give more power to local communities. By coming together as Local London we’re making it clear that we’re ready to take on more responsibilities, and deliver a better deal for our residents.”

With greater levels of devolution promised, and in the context of reduced local authority budgets, Local London authorities want to build on their success to date to deliver even more innovative and efficient services and a better deal for their communities.

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