Labor plans to shake up the UK by extending devolution

A Labor Constitution review by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to recommend banning second jobs for MPs, strengthening the Electoral Commission and extending devolution to English regions and parliaments across Europe. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, who commissioned Brown to carry out the review, has already endorsed one of his recommendations to overhaul the House of Lords ahead of its publication in early December.

Starmer is expected to accept other proposals in the review, designed to provide a framework for how Labor would pursue devolution if it wins the next general election, due in 2024.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, will say in a speech on Wednesday that a Labor government would give “more local power in England over the economy”.

Speaking to the Great Northern Conference in Manchester, she will say Labor would reform what is currently ‘one of the most centralized states in Europe’ to create a ‘prospectus for real levelling’ of Great Britain. Brittany.

The final content of the Brown report was the subject of haggling throughout the summer, with publication delayed for several months.

The report is expected to avoid sweeping fiscal decentralization, which would give greater taxing powers to cities and regions beyond London. However, he will recommend a review of Scotland’s borrowing powers with UK inflation at its highest level in 41 years.

It will also increase the possibility of local English leaders gaining the power to levy ‘hotel taxes’, which could be imposed on hotel visitors to raise money for their area.

Those familiar with the content of the review said it will recommend giving regional mayors more power over local education and training budgets while expanding their powers over infrastructure, planning and transport.

Starmer is also expected to accept a recommendation to give local leaders power over employment agencies, part of a broader policy of decentralizing powers.

Although the review is not expected to set out new tax-raising measures for towns and cities, a senior Labor official said further English tax decentralization remained ‘the end goal’.

The document is expected to propose a “universal core infrastructure” – a per capita funding formula to ensure the protection of crucial local assets, from football clubs to historic landmarks like windmills.

Brown will also recommend giving local authorities more control over their budgets to take a less short-term approach to economic planning.

A person familiar with the document said: ‘It will be drastic in its breadth rather than its depth, it is the first steps in a longer journey.

Reeves will argue that the devolution of economic powers is an “essential ingredient” to the growth of industries of the future in the North.

Some shadow ministers fear the report will recommend greater autonomy for Scotland, prompting a backlash from parts of England.

However, the report will indicate that Scotland already has considerable powers of taxation and will propose to reduce procedural barriers to their use, while recommending a review of a limited extension of Holyrood’s ability to borrow money. .

Starmer has already accepted Brown’s idea of ​​abolishing the House of Lords and replacing it with a new elected body with greater representation from all parts of the UK. Labor mayors, including Andy Burnham, were among those consulted for the report.

Other ideas in the report include a ban on second jobs for MPs, a new ‘integrity and ethics commission’, whereby a lay jury could adjudicate complaints against politicians.

It also proposes giving the Electoral Commission new investigative powers and the ability to impose larger fines.

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