As Brexit looms in less than a year, here’s how to approach devolving power

To me, it is clear that the UK — as a whole, and in terms of its constituent parts — could benefit from greater decentralisation. I’m not alone in thinking this, although I’m aware that my free-market, pro-democracy, pro-Brexit reasoning differs from some other supporters of such an outcome. But, to repeat, that does not mean that I think new arrangements must be introduced now. And neither does it mean that the ideal and universally-desired unit of representation is necessarily “regional” — remember the North-East Assembly referendum! Rather, the democratic conversation must continue.

In the meantime, however, I would argue that the power that existing local authorities already hold should be fully enforced, not least to help their areas benefit from the opportunities of Brexit. Proper fiscal decentralisation — including the raising of tax revenues, as well as the controlling of spending — could help in terms of increasing choice and driving up standards, leading to greater specialisation, and the benefits of competition between areas.

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