England’s seven regional and city-wide Mayors, including Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region’s Steve Rotheram, are meeting in London today to issue a call to the Government to increase the pace and scale of devolution.
London is hosting 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 – four Conservative and three Labour – will jointly argue 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.
The Mayors will call for further devolved control over public services including skills, training and apprenticeship services, as well as influence over programmes designed to help people get back to work.
They will also call for a significant increase in fiscal devolution, with regions given greater control over existing taxes and the revenues they create, rather than having to rely on Government grants.
In addition to Burnham and Rotheram, the summit includes the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Tim Bowles of West of England, Ben Houchen of Tees Valley, James Palmer of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Andy Street of West Midlands.
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.
“As we leave the EU it is vital that people here have the right skills to get on in life and drive our economy. The Government must urgently increase the speed of devolution and fully devolve skills powers and the ability to allocate the apprenticeship levy. It time to give us the tools we need to change the lives of the people we represent.”
Rotheram said: “Devolution is the single most important means of achieving a more economically balanced and prosperous UK. It transfers powers, resources and autonomy to the places that will be our country’s most important growth engines. It is vitally important that the Government sustains and accelerates its commitment to devolution.”