Survey of London public, businesses and Councillors regarding devolution on behalf of the LCCI.
Overall, there is broad support for the principle of greater devolution to London across all audiences, with Business Rates the tax where devolution is most supported. There is no strong consensus as to what level of London government should hold control of any devolved revenue, but the most popular options for spending this revenue are transport infrastructure and house building. The majority of councillors would support a move towards greater collaboration, with cost savings through joint commissioning seen as the greatest benefit of collaboration.
- A majority of all three audiences say they support local government in London gaining greater control over tax levels and how taxes are spent. Support is particularly strong among London councillors, with nine in ten in favour (89%), followed by three fifths of the London public (60%) and London business decision makers (56%).
- A majority of all audiences say that local or regional government should set Business Rates, particularly councillors, nine in ten of whom are in favour (91%). All audiences are generally opposed to local government setting Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and Air Passenger Duty. Opinion is divided on Stamp Duty, with almost half of councillors in favour of devolving control to local government (49%), compared to three fifths of business decision makers in favour of retaining central government’s control over the Duty (60%).
- Support for devolving the revenue of taxation follows a similar pattern, with a majority of all audiences in support of devolving the revenue collected from Business Rates to local government.
- Audiences disagree on who should control taxation revenue if it is devolved. Whereas a majority of councillors would prefer this revenue to lie under their control in local borough councils (58%), the most popular option for business is regional government, i.e. The Greater London Authority / City Hall (43%). The public is divided on who should control the revenue, with around a third supporting control by regional government (31%) and a similar proportion supporting control by borough councils (29%).
- When considering where the devolved revenue should be spent to promote growth, investments in transport infrastructure and house building are the most popular options. Transport infrastructure is the favoured option of business with two thirds of decision makers in favour (67%), whilst house building is the favoured option of councillors, with seven in ten in favour (69%).
- More than four fifths (84%) of councillors say that a lack of appetite from the Treasury to devolve further fiscal powers to London is a barrier to greater devolution. This is followed by almost a half of councillors saying that a lack of support from the rest of the UK is a barrier (46%).
- More than half of councillors feel that each of the partnership options tested would be effective (informal collaboration: 70%, new combined authorities: 60%, non-statutory partnerships: 52%). Businesses are less certain, with new combined authorities the only option more likely to be seen as more effective than ineffective (41% to 26%).
- Cost savings through joint commissioning of services are regarded as the greatest benefit of councils working together, with over four fifths of councillors (83%) and two thirds of business decision makers (66%) citing this as the main benefit.
- Almost two thirds of councillors (65%) support increased collaboration between councils, even if this means losing some control over strategic economic growth policy functions.
- Four fifths of councillors (80%) and more than three fifths of business decision makers (64%) say that the Barnett Formula requires reform.
Date Published: 04/03/2015
Categories: Business | Economy | Opinion Formers | Politics | Public and communities | UK
- ComRes interviewed 150 London councillors online between 27th January and 17th February 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all London councillors by party and broad region.
- ComRes interviewed 503 London business decision makers online between 29th January and 16th February 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector.
- ComRes interviewed 1,051 London adults online between 27th and 29th January 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all London adults aged 18+.