A group of directly-elected regional mayors have called on Whitehall to devolve more powers and responsibilities to local areas.
The M9 group met yesterday in Manchester to discuss the impact of devolution to date, and the next steps in pushing the devolution agenda forward.
They welcomed the chancellor’s announcement for a White Paper on devolving more powers to local areas in England and discussed the need for a framework setting out an agreed set of principles for devolution in the future.
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced the White Paper on Monday on the first day of the Conservative conference.
The Government should also take a place-based approach to the 2020 Spending Review with devolution as the underlying principle, the M9 mayors urged.
‘Greater devolution powers will help us support communities across our towns and cities,’ said the mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles.
‘Local people who live and work in the region are best placed to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities that we face.
‘We have ambitious plans for the West of England as set out in our Local Industrial Strategy, which we launched with Government earlier this year.’
Mr Bowles also welcomed what he characterised as the prime minister’s commitment to ‘levelling-up’ devolved powers across the country.
During a recent visit to Yorkshire, Mr Johnson insisted that he supported devolution.
‘It is time that we gave more people a say over the places where they live, and it is time that we gave you the proper ability to run things your way,’ he said.
Northern leaders welcomed this statement but urged the PM to back ‘genuine devolution’.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, a member of the M9 group, warned that devolution to date had been ‘fragmented and partial’.
‘There is so much more we as mayors can achieve with greater powers at our disposal,’ he said.
The Government is planning to launch the next round of devolution legislation in the Queen’s Speech, The MJ understands.