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Survey Reveals Mixed Attitudes to Devolution Services

A recent survey has revealed that a large percentage of local people think that they should have a say in the devolution process, but have differing opinions on exactly what powers should be devolved.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) commissioned the ComRes survey to assess public attitudes toward devolution, and found that 78% of survey respondents wanted to be able to vote on which powers are devolved to their towns and regions.

The survey also demonstrated that the public welcomed the prospect of community decision-making on infrastructure matters. Only 26% were concerned that devolution would have a negative impact on local services, and 33% wanted it to slow down across the country.

The ICE survey, which polled 1700 English residents and heralds the launch of the organisation’s State of the Nation: Devolution campaign, also indicated that the public is wavering on which decisions should be devolved.

46% of respondents wanted decisions connected to renewable energy facilities to be made at the local level while 42% thought that central control would be better.

41% of those surveyed said that fracking decisions should be made by local authorities, but the same percentage feels that central government should take control of these decisions.

35% want their local government to be able to control new train stations and lines, compared to 55% who want those decisions to be made centrally. 23% said that decisions about new power stations should be made locally, while 66% were in favour of central control.

19% of the respondents believe that the decisions on new motorways should be made at the local level, while 71% wanted the central government to take the lead.



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Finally, it was discovered that 52% of those polled believe that devolution could help rejuvenate and sustain local economies, and 64% believed that a new fund to support skills growth would be a good thing.

Jonathan Spruce, a representative of the group directing State of the Nation: Devolution, said that the ‘devolution revolution’ is gaining momentum and the overall commitment is positive: placing powers in the control of those whom they affect has potential for improved focus, stronger investment, and better decision-making.

Mr Spruce added that to get the most out of devolution, there needs to be a better grasp on precisely how and where it can work the best. Mr Spruce also believes that there needs to be a stronger grasp on the requirements, capacity, and particular ambition of each area when it comes to establishing frameworks and assigning responsibility.


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