You’ve heard of SNP, now here’s SLP: Five South London councils join forces demanding devolution

A partnership of representatives from Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton council met for its first public meeting today to make its case to government for devolution.

The South London Partnership (SLP) has laid out its ambitious plans to develop and promote skills, innovation and boost people’s quality of life.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council who was today appointed chair of a joint committee,which has been ratified by each member council, explained that the partnership could deliver the biggest growth opportunity in the capital.

He said: “This is a landmark opportunity for an unprecedented scale of growth in our region, which will bring huge benefits for local residents.

“South London represents one of the biggest growth opportunities not only in London but the entire country.

“We are starting from a position of strength and the strong track record we have of working together that demonstrates a single focus on delivery.

“Our message to government is quite clear – devolve us the powers we are asking for to unlock the growth potential in our region that will ensure London maintains its status as a global city in the coming decades.

“Together we offer the perfect platform to deliver a unique growth proposition benefiting both London and the UK.”

The South London region’s offer to government includes:-

  • The largest office location outside central London
  • The opportunity to create 20,000 new homes
  • More than half a million projected new jobs by 2036
  • A £5.21bn regeneration programme in Croydon creating more than 23,000 jobs
  • Easy access to Gatwick and Heathrow airports
  • The fastest growing tech sector outside central London
  • World renowned research institutions, such as National Physical Laboratory and Kew Gardens

In return the boroughs have agreed a joint ‘ask’ to government, which covers four key themes for growth, including:

  1. Devolved decision-making powers– including devolved funding streams and budget holding at a local level, 100% retention of business rate relief
  2. Matching skills to demandto support the local economy and create new jobs and businesses through devolved funding and commissioning at a local level
  3. Realising infrastructure ambitions– including a stronger role in transport planning, local control of bus routes, and stronger orbital connections
  4. Greater freedom to deliver homes– including a stronger voice in planning housing, easier and more direct routes to funding, removal of restrictions on borrowing

The SLP has already worked together which, the SLP argues, puts the region in a ready-made position for devolved powers and to deliver real change.

This includes the first four borough shared legal service in England, a regional collaboration to provide occupational therapy equipment and a range of shared IT, finance, HR and payroll systems and a long-established regional waste disposal service.

Picture courtesy of Merton Council, with thanks

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