Mayors unite in new call for more freedom
Andy Street attends London summit
BRITAIN’S seven regional and city- wide Mayors met for the first time and issued a united call for the Government to give them far more freedom and the ability to raise their own funding.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street attended the event in London, the first of what is planned to be a series of summits attended by all of England’s regional and city- wide Mayors.
The seven mayors – four Conservative and three Labour – were spelling out that Britain remains one of the most centralised states in the western world and that devolution is the key to unlocking future growth and improving productivity across the UK.
Taking part were London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham ( Greater Manchester), Tim Bowles ( West of England), Ben Houchen ( Tees Valley), James Palmer ( Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), Steve Rotheram ( Liverpool City Region) and Andy Street ( West Midlands).
The mayors were calling for further devolved control over public services including skills, training and apprenticeship services, as well as real influence over programmes designed to help people get back to work.
They were also urging a significant increase in the ability to raise money, with regions given greater control over existing taxes and the revenues they create, rather than having to rely on Government grants.
Mr Street, a Conservative, said: “This Government more than any other has pushed the devolution agenda with the creation of combined authorities and Mayors. I believe now is the time for Government to go a step further and provide us with the tools to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities we each face.
“We are already proving our worth, now let us really kick on with the job,” he added.
The Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We may come from different parts of the country and represent different political parties but we all share the same belief – that the best way to secure ongoing prosperity across the country is by giving city regions more control.”
Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Through devolution we have the best chance we will ever get to do things differently and take control of our own future.
“It will be city regions working together that drive the quickest and most progressive change in the future which is why today’s meeting is so important.”
Now is the time for Government to go a step further and provide us with the tools to tackle the challenges. ANDY STREET
Meeting of minds: Mayors, from left, Andy Street, Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan chat at Birmingham’s New Street Station