Metro mayors call for more powers from Westminster

England’s directly-elected mayors have called for more powers to be transferred down from Westminster, following the announcement of a new White Paper.

The M9 group of metro mayors has welcomed the announcement made by the Chancellor earlier this week at the Conservative Party conference of an upcoming White Paper on devolution.

Speaking at the conference, Sajid Javid said it would give local areas ‘more local powers to drive investments in the infrastructure and services they know they need’.

The group has called on government to use the White Paper to transfer responsibilities, accountability and resources away from Westminster.

Alongside a devolution White Paper, mayors also called on government to take a place-based approach to the 2020 Spending Review, ensuring devolution is an underpinning principle of long-term spending plans for the country.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the value of devolution is ‘there for all to see’.

‘In the West Midlands we are seeing record economic growth, record house building, record investment in our public transport, and record numbers in work,’ said Mr Street.

‘I truly believe that none of this would have been possible without the creation of the region’s Combined Authority and its devolved powers.

‘But devolution to date has been fragmented and partial, and there is so much more we as mayors can achieve with greater powers at our disposal,’ he added.

The County Councils Network’s devolution spokesman, Cllr Martin Hill also welcomed the government’s renewed commitment to devolution.

‘To ensure devolution really gets off the ground in counties and rural areas, we need the White Paper to recognise the importance of our areas and directly empower and trust county authorities to deliver this agenda, moving away from a city-centric approach,’ said Cllr Hill.

‘The major sticking point for many counties under the previous government was the requirement for a metro mayor in return for a full suite of devolved powers. Whilst this model can work in some areas, there is little evidence it is suitable for large and diverse county areas.

‘The White Paper should not restrict the most ambitious devolution to metro-mayors and should be clear on the importance of county geographies as the building blocks for devolution outside of the major cities,’ he added.

Photo Credit – West Midlands Combined Authority

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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