Boris Johnson: ‘London should have Holyrood powers’

Johnson: 'Central funding not fit for purpose'. Picture: PA
Johnson: 'Central funding not fit for purpose'. Picture: PA
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BORIS Johnson claims Londoners are losing patience over why they are denied similar “fiscal freedoms” given to governments in Wales and Scotland.

The London mayor said the way his administration received funding from central government was “not fit for purpose”.

Saying it was time for him to get more powers, he added: “Londoners will increasingly question why London government cannot enjoy similar fiscal freedoms as those afforded to the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales.”

He was speaking after a report commissioned by the mayor said London boroughs should be allowed to set council tax and for business rates and stamp duty to be devolved to the local administration.

The London Finance Commission report, called Raising The Capital, said there were very few reasons why London and other cities should not be given the same kind of decentralised power as Scotland and Wales, whose combined economies, it noted, were half the size of the capital’s.

The report said this would allow the London government to make “self-determined” investment in the capital’s infrastructure to boost economic growth.

It also said that the mayor’s
office should be given wider powers to borrow for capital
investment.

The report said: “Such reforms would also increase London government’s accountability to residents and businesses. Change would be achieved without affecting the financial settlements of other parts of the country.”

The Treasury said it would comment in due course