Bristol’s devolution bid denied citizens a say

Council HouseKarin Smyth has criticised the process undertaken in its latest devolution bid by Bristol and neighbouring councils, in an article newly published by Progress.

Supporting the idea of greater devolution to local communities, she explains how a bid submitted to the government by Bristol and its three neighbouring authorities was not subject to public consultation. Indeed, as she points out: “the first public airing of the document was when it had already been agreed. The active consultation, involvement or engagement of taxpayers was entirely absent.

“The dictionary tells us that ‘devolution’ means the transfer or delegation of power. Do we want devolution to empower local people, or disengage them?” she asks.

“Local people who pay their local and national taxes must have opportunities to influence the terms of devolution deals themselves. And where there is an elected mayor he or she has a special responsibility to ensure priorities are created with taxpayers, not done ‘to’ them.”

She added: “The people supposedly being given the power cannot be denied a say in the shape the devolution takes. That would be at best a contradiction in terms, at worst fraudulent.”

To read the article in full use this link