Congratulations to the Scottish people on winning a great devolution package in their recent referendum. My view is: “What’s good enough for Scotland is good enough for England too!”
I have been calling for Independent Local Government for 25 years. Most other democracies have power devolved down to local levels. Now in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum, England and Nottingham too could soon be finally joining the democratic family.
Increased devolution was announced for Manchester earlier this week. This included controlling most of their own finances rather than relying on hand outs from Central Government and more power over areas such as housing, transport and social care.
Now we must work to get freedom rolled out to other cities including Nottingham.
Having more powers over key areas such as transport and housing will free us from the clutches of Whitehall, allowing us to follow our own path instead of having it dictated to us. This will give us the ability to adapt to provide the best service for citizens, just because something Whitehall thinks works does not mean that it will work in Nottingham.
It would also allow local authorities to sign deals to co-operate with each other to put their citizens first, this has been the case in Greater Manchester, we could work with Ashfield or even Derby if the case is right.
Financial powers should also be handed down. Income Tax Assignment, which they have in Scotland, is a key part of that. This would involve seeing how much of your income tax in reality goes to your local authority on your pay slips every month. By doing that, you can see how your tax is divided between local and national government.
It is time for all party leaders to commit to devolving powers locally in their manifestos. The game is up, there is no going back after the Scottish Referendum. I look forward to a future where we can choose our own destinies, not “the man in Whitehall”.