London mayor Sadiq Khan “disappointed” with limited Autumn Statement devolution

Mark Sands
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Khan hopes to elevate the role of London mayor to replicate his more powerful US city equivalents

Sadiq Khan has expressed his disappointment after City Hall secured only limited devolution from the Treasury in today's Autumn Statement.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced today that London would gain control of adult education budgets, and will be given control of £3.15bn in spending toward national affordable housing.

That money will be expected to deliver 90,000 homes in the capital.

However, while Hammond said that discussions will continue over further devolution of powers, the offer still fell far short of the kind of changes demanded by Khan.

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The London mayor has argued that his role should be boosted to resemble that of US city authorities.

New York mayor Bill DeBlasio controls education, skills, healthcare and social service systems, as well as taxes on income, tobacco, alcohol and property, on top of equivalent powers in Khan's remit of housing, transport and policing.

And speaking to City A.M. in September, Khan said he was hoping to for an announcement in the Autumn Statement to reflect those changes.

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Khan today admitted he was “disappointed” by the failure to hand City Hall control of suburban railways in London.

“Commuters who rely on Southern, South-West and South-Eastern services are currently being ripped off with a terrible service. I hope the government will move on rail devolution sooner rather than later,” Khan said.

However, the mayor also said that today's announcements represent the beginning of a long-term devolution process.

“I’m delighted that we today took the first steps towards a major new devolution deal for London. London has a bigger population than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined, but we have far less control over how our city is run,” Khan said.

“Today’s marks the first step in our journey to give the capital a greater voice so we can protect jobs, wealth and prosperity and provide an extra incentive for economic growth.”

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