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This briefing paper summarises the main developments regarding the process of devolution of powers to local government within England since 2014. It covers the devolution deals agreed between the Government and local areas up to March 2024, including the powers to be devolved, the procedures required for devolution to take place, and reactions to the policy from the local government and policy-making worlds. It also outlines the proposals for additional devolution found in the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper, published in February 2022.

Section 1 of the briefing paper provides a historical overview of the policy from 2014 onwards, including links to key documentation. Section 2 sets out the powers, and some details of funding, that have been transferred to Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and local areas via devolution deals. Section 3 provides details of the devolution arrangements in Greater Manchester, which form the most substantial deals negotiated to date.

Section 4 sets out additional information on features of deals in other selected geographical areas. Section 5 provides some references to commentary on the policy agenda of devolution to local government in England.

This briefing addresses the debate around devolution of power to local government in England only. Local government is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Library has also published briefings on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill of 2016 and its progress through Parliament. Information on the Greater London Authority, and the transfer of additional power to the Mayor of London as part of the devolution agenda, can be found in the Library briefing The Greater London Authority. Additional detail on the powers offered to Greater Manchester and the West Midlands in March 2023 can be found in the Library briefing paper Trailblazer devolution deals.

Documents to download

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