May­ors unite in new call for more free­dom

Andy Street at­tends Lon­don sum­mit

Solihull News - - LETTERS & EMAILS - JONATHAN WALKER jon. walker@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

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

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