Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Greater Manchester's predominantly Labour Leaders decide to have a Boris style elected Mayor - good news

I fully support the decision of the Greater Manchester Council leaders who have decided to embrace regional control of budgets and the power to decide what happens with transport, housing, planning and policing. One politician told the BBC they were "amazed" at the amount of powers being released to them by Central Government. This is the culmination of a long process of negotiating with Manchester's Local Authority leaders - mostly Labour and some other parties, who were originally sceptical about a regional Mayor - now they are convinced that a Boris-type elected mayor is what the region needs.

The concern was about one person having all the power over an area where different places have different needs. So what Wigan and Oldham need might be very different to what Manchester needs or wants. But in order to introduce major changes, the mayor will still need the support of two thirds of the combined authority's leaders. One council leader said this effectively "puts the brakes" on the kind of elected mayor they were worried about. On that point individual city mayors were rejected a few years ago but what is now proposed and agreed upon by the Labour run Greater Manchester is totally different. This is about different areas coming together and working as one, in partnership not competition, but with the democratic accountability and checks and balances you need. I support this plan and think it would work in the North East. I stress that Greater Manchester is run by Labour local authorities working together for the common good of the region. I think we have much to admire about that and that this is a plan for the future.
The BBC report of the announcement and why Greater Manchester has agreed are set out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-29876939
The possible people who could do the job for us in the North East are mischievously shortlisted in the Journal: http://www.thejournal.co.uk/north-east-analysis/analysis-news/who-would-north-easts-answer-8043381