Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : 60 per cent of England now covered by historic devolution deals [January 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 26 January 2024.

The percentage of the English population now living in a place covered by a devolution deal has risen to 60 per cent.

  • Devolution deals now cover 60 per cent of the English population – up from 41 percent since major levelling up plan two years ago
  • Deals providing powers to local leaders now cover nearly 34 million people in England – including nine of England’s 10 largest cities and 90 per cent of the North
  • Devolution milestone comes as Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young signs another deal with Devon County Council and Torbay Council – the 10th new deal since government’s levelling up plan was published

Sixty per cent of the English population will now live in a place covered by a devolution deal, thanks to another historic deal signed with Devon County Council and Torbay Council.

This is up from 41 per cent when the government published its major levelling up plan almost two years ago, meeting a key commitment to devolve powers to more areas across England.

This means an extra 10 million people will now benefit from new powers handed from Westminster to their local leaders – covering a total of almost 34 million people across England.

In another boost for levelling up, devolution deals now cover 90 per cent of the North – up from 62 per cent two years ago and benefitting over 14 million people.

And in the Midlands, the percentage of people covered by a devolution deal has more than doubled in two years – up from 26 per cent to 55 per cent, covering almost 6 million people.

The government has also secured devolution deals for nine of England’s 10 largest cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham and Sheffield.

These deals are giving local leaders strengthened powers to make local decisions on important matters like transport, adult education and business support.

They are also providing areas with over £5 billion of new, long-term funding from the government – the total amount committed to 10 devolution deals so far.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:

This historic devolution milestone shows our commitment to spreading opportunity more equally across the country – empowering local leaders to take control on matters that mean most to their communities and improving local people’s lives.

And to support their plans we’re providing billions of pounds in new funding for the long term, helping people to feel the benefits of these changes for years to come.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities aims to secure devolution deals by 2030 for every part of England that wants one. This is one of 12 levelling up goals set by the department in its flagship Levelling Up White Paper in February 2022.

These goals, called Levelling Up Missions, set out clearly what the government aims to do to reduce geographical disparity across all parts of the UK.

To mark progress on devolution in England, the government measures the proportion of the English population living in an area with a devolution deal.

The signing between Devon County Council and Torbay Council yesterday (25 January) will see the creation of a new Combined County Authority and £16 million awarded from central government to invest in local priorities as part of the deal. This follows devolution deals already secured with the East Midlands, North East, York and North Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cornwall, Lancashire, Greater Lincolnshire and Hull and East Yorkshire.

Seven of these devolution deals will see the election of new mayors in county areas in 2024 and 2025.


Notes to editors:

  • As with other Combined Authority and Combined County Authority deals, the Devon County Council and Torbay Council devolution deal is subject to local consultation, ratification by the constituent councils and parliamentary approval of the secondary legislation implementing the provisions of the deal. The deal encapsulates the majority of the ceremonial county of Devon.