Four of England’s metro mayors are demanding control over the cash set to replace Brussels funding in the wake of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Labour’s Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool city region, and Dan Jarvis of Sheffield city region have written to the Financial Times, with the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, calling for more fiscal devolution after Brexit.
The Government has said it will create a UK Shared Prosperity Fund to replace EU funding that will be lost once Britain exits from the union.
The Treasury promised to match the funding until 2020. This is worth £2.4bn a year in combined EU and matched national funding.
The EU currently provides annual financing of £50m to Greater Manchester, £32m to Liverpool, £30m to Sheffield and £25m to the Tees Valley.
In their letter, the mayors said that if the ‘defining mantra’ of the Brexit campaign — take back control — was to mean anything there must be ‘substantial devolution of power and resources out of Westminster to the English regions.’
They wrote that while employment had risen and city centres were doing well, some places ‘remain locked out of this success story.’
‘This underlines the need for areas to be given more control of the tools to unlock inclusive economic growth in their communities,’ they wrote.
‘Ministers have promised a consultation on the shared prosperity fund this year and this is becoming urgent if we are not to be left with a damaging gap between the ending of EU structural funds and the setting up of the shared prosperity fund – a gap which would lead to the closure of vital economic programmes and investments.’