Osborne reinforces Northern message

The Chancellor backed up the post-election appointment of a minister for the Northern Powerhouse and cities champion Greg Clark as Communities Secretary with a speech in Manchester promising 'a revolution in the way we govern England.'

Osborne will invite other cities in England to join Manchester in bidding for devolved powers. Manchester is due to elect a mayor when it takes on extra powers in housing, planning, transport and policing in two years.

A Cities Devolution Bill will be included in the Queen's Speech later this month, Osborne will add in his speech later.

Osborne is expected to say that running everything from London 'made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives' and is 'not good for our prosperity or our democracy.'

Many Northern cities are likely to resist the devolution move as it comes with the requirement that a directly elected mayor be appointed.

Earlier this week, Greg Clark, former minister for cities and an ally of Osborne on the Northern Powerhouse agenda, was made Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, replacing Eric Pickles, who served in post for the whole of the last parliament, but was better known for trying to protect the shires from green belt erosion.

The new Tory government's reshuffle also saw James Wharton appointed minister for the Northern Powerhouse.

All the rhetoric and powers that come with the city devolution movement will be weighed against the further austerity cuts to local government in the coming years. Councils may find themselves with more responsibilities but less resources.

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It would be nice if there was a step change in the way this government perceived the north as starting and ending in Manchester going forward. Doubtful but one can hope


there is a slight political undertone to this article. Unusual for the apolitical Place team

By watching

I think the idea that devolution to cities ‘starts and ends in Manchester’ is more of a reflection that George Osborne is MP for Tatton and the Manchester politicians have his ear, than anything else. Yes, they’ve favoured Manchester and deliberately set it up so the hurdles are greater for the other cities, but the other cities can overcome those hurdles if they want to. But city regions such as Liverpool for example really do need to come together, bury their internal differences and act for the greater good of their citizens. The community of people that is the Liverpool region really does stretch from the north Sefton coast to the west of the Wirral, through Rainhill and Whiston into St. Helens, and down through Widnes to Runcorn, (and easily into Ormskirk and Skelmersdale too when that one can be resolved). Politicians in Knowsley, Halton and the Wirral, in particular, should think long and hard about what will serve their communities best and grasp the nettle. If the Liverpool City Region can currently be chaired sucessfully by a Birkenhead politicain from Wirral, then there’s no reason why the whole area shouldn’t be trusted to elect its own mayoral representative. This is clearly the way forward – Manchester did not put it to a referendum – there’s no reason why the Liverpool region should. The politicians should just get on with it and accept the outcome! The benefits in the long run could be manifold.

By Paul Blackburn

‘Hurdles are greater for other cities’, absolute nonsense Paul.

By Paranoid android

"Political undertone"? Some people seem to confuse balance with bias. I don’t detect any political undertone whatsoever.

By PNW reader

When Osborne and Cameron spoke at the eold Granada studios before the election it was the same morning Sir Richard Leese was meeting top decide where the latest deep cuts should fall. This is cold comfort indeed.

By Baz

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