Powering ahead

Their shock majority has left surprised Conservatives having to implement their manifesto. Since just about everyone thought they were writing a negotiating document and not a legislative programme (witness Evan Davis and Jeremy Hunt on Newsnight discussing which bits of the manifesto they would implement), they may not have given too much thought to how to do that in advance.

We took a look last month at the key points from each of the main manifestos. As a recap, here's what the Conservatives promised, and will now have to deliver:

  • 200,000 Starter Homes by 2020
  • Extend Help to Buy
  • Implement Help to Buy ISAs
  • Support locally led Garden Cities
  • Planning permissions on 90% of brownfield sites by 2020
  • Devolve development powers to city-regions with elected mayors

Civic devolution looks like moving forward rapidly with Greg Clark at DCLG, and the appointment of James Wharton to the DCLG as a minister with specific responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse shows that the Northern focus was more than just a pre-election pledge.

George Osborne's first public speech since the election, delivered today in Manchester, proclaims "a revolution in the way we govern England." The Chancellor has reaffirmed that his door is open to any city-region that wants to elect a mayor and assume responsibility for transport, housing, skills and healthcare. He has brought Jim O'Neill, formerly of Goldman Sachs and the City Growth Commission, into the Treasury as Commercial Secretary, with a brief focusing on devolution.

A Cities Devolution Bill will be included in the Queen's Speech, and will make provision for the appointment and subsequent election (likely in 2017) of a Greater Manchester Mayor. With the Conservatives installed around the Cabinet table and Manchester forging ahead, it is likely that other city-regions will follow their lead at some point during this Parliament.

Now that the election result gives us some confidence that the Manchester model of city devolution will be implemented and have time to bed in, we can look to the opportunities that the devolution of spending and decision-making will bring. The new mayor and their cabinet of council leaders will wield important powers, and making sure your voice is heard in the corridors of power will be key to making devolution work for you.

To find out how Remarkable can help you understand and make the most of Manchester's new political reality, get in touch on 0161 359 4103 or – we'd be delighted to talk it through with you.

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