Friday, 15 May 2015

A Mayor for the North East is the way forward - we need one strong voice for the region

 • The old model of trying to run everything in our country from the centre of London is broken. It’s led to an unbalanced economy, made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives, and is not good for our prosperity or democracy.

• A central part of our Queen’s Speech will be a Bill to enable a new model of city government, based around a single city, or more usually a larger area like Greater London, Greater Manchester, or the Combined Aithority area of the North East. I am a big supporter of this as it will bind the area together, allow us to speak with one voice not many, and give us the critical mass we need to compete in the global race for jobs and investment. It will also integrate the region, and it's public services. 

 We will hand power to cities so they have greater control over local transport, housing, skills and healthcare – and the means to grow their local economy and ensure local people keep their rewards. But it’s right that people have a single point of accountability: someone they elect, who takes decisions and carries the can. So with these new powers for cities must come new city-wide elected mayors who work with local councils. 

• Greater Manchester has agreed to have a mayor as part of our Northern Powerhouse – and this new law will make that happen. We are open to any other major city who wants to take this step. It means power to the working people of our country, a stronger democracy and greater prosperity for all.  

We are doing this by:
• A Cities Devolution Bill in the Queen’s Speech will devolve power to cities across England. The Bill will legislate so that by the end of the year the legal framework is in place so any city can choose to implement a Mayoral devolution deal. This would give the city greater control over local transport, housing, skills and healthcare; more power to grow their economy; and a single point of accountability in a city-wide elected mayor. 

• The historic deal for Greater Manchester will act as a blueprint for the rest of the country. The Bill will deliver this deal, reached last autumn, enabling Greater Manchester to elect its Mayor in 2017 – with powers over transport, strategic planning, policing, control of a new £300 million Housing Investment Fund. This will be the first city-wide elected mayor outside of London, and will give Mancunians a more powerful voice and bring practical improvements, such as better transport links, an Oyster-style travelcard, and more investment in skills and the city’s economy.

• Labour let our economy become unbalanced. For every ten private sector jobs created in the London and the South between 1998 and 2008, only one was created in the Midlands and the North.

Fuller details here from the BBC: