would be able to siphon off the money for their local pet projects.
The proposed mayor was to be a conduit through which to enhance
The inevitable outcome of such a disparate set of negotiations
is a compromise. Comparisons with the Redcliffe-Maud
recommendations, the government’s original Local Enterprise
Partnership boundaries and the travel-to-work patterns, as set out
above, articulate just how much compromise there has been. There
are real benefits in what has happened, but there is much more
to do. Many parts of our country will not benefit because they are
not involved. In other cases, excluded councils which refused to be
involved know full well where their real economic relationships lie
and are forming relationships as constituent non-voting authorities.
Truth to tell, many of them want the economic benefits but won’t
help to provide sufficient housing for the people without whom
these economic benefits will be smaller. In other cases, police and
fire authorities or waste disposal authorities have non-coincidental
boundaries, thus acting as further barriers to combining the
mayoralty with that of the elected crime commission.
This reality has become evident as the original settlements have often
been augmented by subsequent deals and the allocation of additional
funds. The mayors themselves have their own priorities. Without
exception, they have either published or are working on strategic
long-term policies for their areas.
All of them recognise that at the heart of the case for devolution
is the need to create more wealth and improve living standards.
Some of them add a more social dimension to their ambitions, but
at the heart of both the government’s and the mayors’ agenda is
economic performance. The clearest manifestation of this are the
subsequent negotiations, concluded after the original settlement,
to define and implement local industrial strategies. The mayors are
enthusiastic in their welcome but, again, have deeply held concerns
about gaps in the powers available to them. For example, any serious
discussion about industrial policy must begin with the availability
of an educated, skilled and motivated workforce. Every mayor is