Given the impact of Scottish Independence referendum last year, it is hardly surprising that devolution features heavily in the manifestos. But while most of the parties agree that the next steps for devolving power to Scotland (and to a lesser extent, Wales) start with the package of measures agreed through the cross-party Smith Commission on devolution, which reported in November. Their proposals about the regions, counties and cities of England are however much more varied. Conservative The Conservative manifesto argues that that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to devolving powers to the nations, regions and cities of the UK. It proposes – unsurprisingly – continuing much of the last Government’s place-by-place, bespoke deal-making approach to devolving power. Some of this is about delivering on commitments made during the last parliament – for example legislating to give effect to the ‘devolution deal’ agreed with Greater Manchester in 2014, and implementing pilots in Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire East that will allow those councils to retain 100 percent of growth in business rates. But the manifesto also proposes extending the deal-making into the next parliament – they intend to continue creating ‘growth deals’ with local authorities and will offer […]

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