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The idea of a devolved “eastern powerhouse” as portrayed by its most persuasive advocate Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales is one that deserves attention.

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales

But there is every chance it will talk itself out of existence.

The notion grew out of the Growth Boroughs, a tight-knit group of east London councils that were aligned to the Olympics with an overriding mission of convergence – using 2012 and its legacy to close the gap between the performance and prosperity of east and west.

From the Olympics, it has now jumped on the bandwagon of Manchester-style devolution.

But it is an idea without a strong defining purpose in its present (albeit embryonic) form. The east London alliance includes far-flung northern boroughs like Enfield as well as Greenwich from south of the river but Hackney pulled out just before the official launch.

Even Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales confesses – indeed prescribes – that services should be delivered at the lowest possible level – neighbourhoods where necessary.

And, at the other end of the scale, a devolved body would not tread on the toes of strategic operations like Transport for London or co-ordinating groups like London Councils (chaired, incidentally, by Hackney mayor Jules Pipe).

So, as currently proposed, a geographically promiscuous group of chums want to create an arbitrary new level of government while advocating a philosophy that hastens its own redundancy.

Not a persuasive bill of fare to set before the Chancellor.