Combined Authorities are legal bodies established under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 as amended that may be given power to exercise specified functions of a local authority, and power to exercise specified functions of any other public authority. To date nine combined authorities have been formed of which six are mayoral combined authorities chaired by an elected mayor for the area.(1)
That the borrowing powers of mayoral combined authorities in England would be extended was announced back in 2016 in the Autumn Statement,
"The government will give mayoral combined authorities powers to borrow for their new functions, which will allow them to invest in economically productive infrastructure, subject to agreeing a borrowing cap with HM Treasury."
Now that the six mayoral combined authorities have each agreed annual maximum limits on their long-term external debt, the government commitment has been implemented through regulations (2) which came into force on 4 May 2018.
Mayoral combined authorities already had borrowing powers for transport (like all combined authorities). Additionally, the six may now borrow in respect of all their existing functions.
What the further functions of each mayoral combined authority are varies from one authority to the next depending on the devolution deals that were negotiated with government.
In general terms, the further functions relate to housing, regeneration and economic development. For more detailed information on mayoral/ combined authorities' functions and powers please refer to our report 'Signs of Success'.