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Decentralization London-style: The GLA and London governance

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London Authority, consisting of a Mayor and Assembly, is an oddity: it is both a renewal of London city government and a component of the Labour government's devolution reforms which have set out some of the parameters for devolution to the other English regions. The GLA's powers are strategic and were limited by Whitehall resistance to devolution. Mayor and Assembly are supported by a common administration, which has resulted in some frictions. Policy delivery is in the hands of 'functional bodies' and/or the London boroughs and there is much scope for intervention by Whitehall. The GLA budget is modest, though it does have a limited fiscal autonomy in the form of a council tax precept and congestion charging. The GLA is significantly less powerful than devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales; the pattern of Whitehall resistance and a complex institutional environment in London hamper the capacity to bring about even modest change. Further reform is inevitable.

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