Public spending watchdog warns government over devolution deals

 
Lauren Fedor
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The PAC says the government isn't properly scrutinising devolution deals in cities such as Manchester (Source: Getty)

An influential parliamentary committee is cautioning the government over its plans to devolve further powers to local authorities, calling for more transparency about how devolution is carried out in various regions.

In a new report out today, the Public Accounts Committee says that the government needs to “provide clarity on accountability, funding and economic impact” of devolution.

Commenting on the report, Meg Hillier, a Labour MP who chairs the committee, said: “Devolving power and responsibilities carries the risk of weakened accountability. The fact that the government cannot adequately explain where responsibility lies for the success or failure of City Deal programmes should therefore sound an alarm.”

Today’s report follows an inquiry by the public spending watchdog into the first wave of so-called city deals signed between the national government and eight of Britain’s largest cities, including Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Hillier said that a lack of oversight of the initial city deals was “disappointing”, saying there is “no effective mechanism for comparing results in different cities, nor to scrutinise the knock-on effects projects in one area might have elsewhere”.

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