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Let Go Westminster - Says MCR

Lord Peter Smith on David Cameron's reference to greater devolution for large cities

Published on September 19th 2014.


Let Go Westminster - Says MCR
 

FOLLOWING the result of the Scottish independence referendum, Prime Minster David Cameron made reference to the case for greater devolution for the country's largest cities. He said:

"It is important that we have wider civic engagement about how to improve governance in our United Kingdom, including how to empower our great cities. And we will say more about this in the coming days..."

In response to this, Lord Peter Smith, chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, released this statement on the morning of Friday 19 September 2014:

"We welcome the Prime Minister's words about the need to empower our great cities and look forward to discussions with central government about how we achieve this as soon as possible. Greater Manchester has the experience and capability to move quickly.

"The referendum process has highlighted the compelling case for greater devolution for English city regions.

"Greater Manchester has a bigger economy than Wales or Northern Ireland, and a population of almost three million, yet we have considerably less freedom over our funding and spending priorities. As more and more powers and flexibilities are devolved to other parts of the union, the position of major English economic powerhouses such as Greater Manchester becomes ever more untenable.

"We believe that our record of joint working, and the maturity of our institutions such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, make this area uniquely well-placed to demonstrate the benefits of greater freedom to make the decisions and funding allocations which will help the region realise its full potential - maximising economic growth and job creation and reforming public services to improve results at the same times as reducing spending. But to achieve that we need the freedom to make decisions on funding and priorities based on the area's needs, not 'one size fits all' approaches handed down from Westminster and Whitehall."

Earlier this week Confidential Editor Jonathan Schofield published an article titled Devo-Max For A Tax-Raising Manchester, in which he discussed how the debate on Scotland had made a case for Manchester to have its own tax raising abilities. Read it here.

www.agma.gov.uk/gmca

(Click here to add text)"Greater Manchester has a bigger economy than Wales or Northern Ireland"

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30 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Alex24September 19th 2014.

I'm not a massive fan of the Tories but credit where it's due. They have been receptive to devolution ideas for some time now, and I can't remember a Chancellor before Osborne who has backed Manchester so strongly. It'll be very interesting to see the timescale and extent of devolution plans for city regions in the next few days.

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

I know what you mean. I like to give credit where credits due, and the current Tory Government are looking to invest and reinvigorate the north of England like no other party has before in my lifetime, but it seems people have an inbuilt hatred of them from the 70's and wont look at the facts. They are doing a fine job of cleaning up the last lots mess.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

'They are doing a fine job of cleaning up the last lots mess.'? And that's all politics is and that's why I've never voted.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

One party is pushing to invest billions outside of the the South East and is talking of transforming public transport right across Northern England with HS2 & HS3. The other one isn't. Add in the money for the National Graphene Centres and talk of giving new powers to the regions, and it's clear to see there's more to politics than cleaning up the mess of the previous party, although the current government are doing a good job of that too.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

George Osborne has not backed Manchester. He has merely turned up at the right time to claim credit for an initiative that has little to do with him or his party or floated ideas such as HS3 that are little more than unfunded, headline grabbing pieces of spin and PR. Don't be fooled. He is a highly political animal.

Alex24September 19th 2014.

All politicians are highly political animals unfortunately but it's clear the Conservatives are bringing forward real and meaningful change for the Manchester region.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

It's clear to anyone who wishes to look at the facts that Labour are London centric. You can call HS2 and HS3 unfunded, headline grabbing pieces of spin and PR. I can hear one party pushing for it and one not wanting to spend that much money on infrastructure north of Watford. Under a labour government 80% of the money spent on infrastructure was spent in the south east. That is a fact. They didn't want the M60 to be completed or a 2nd runway at Manchester Airport. Labour brought the country to it's knees spending what we didn't have, throwing benefits at anyone who could fill a form in, just to keep them off the unemployment list. People were rewarded just for having kids, was it £250 or £500 per child? And they sent hundreds of people to a needless grave for an illegal war. But don't be fooled, those conservatives are the baddies. Always have been always will be.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

I think you need to draw a line between New Labour and the current one which is a very different beast. The previous Labour government were hideously centralist control freaks. But the conservative opposition were even less inclined towards devolution. Times chane and the new coalition government have made some limited progress it is true. But they show no inclination to taking this any further. Eric Pickles in particular is stridently against giving local authorities any more freedoms and even attempts to micro manage bin collections! Too many ministers want to maintain their own little empires and the Treasury are one of the biggest road blocks to radical reform. So don't be taken in by Osborne's spin David (anon, above). Use your head a bit and think for yourself. The proposals that the current Labour administration are have brought forward are much farther reaching and more radical than anything the Tories have produced much of which, typically, is tokenistic, designed more for headlines than real change. Watch out for their lobbying for an English Parliament rather than devolving powers down to towns and cities.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

It's as if your vote is meaningless and the toffs that run the show are quite happy with the way things are.

DavidSeptember 20th 2014.

Farage,Clegg and Cameron all went to private school and Milliband is hardly working class.Compare that to Wilson,Thatcher,Heath,Major all state educated.It just shows the collapse in social mobility in this country since the the end of grammar schools.The country is unfortunately becoming more and more like France in having where politicians of all ideology share the same educational background and are out of touch with the majority of own country.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Does anybody really think the people of England are going to vote for more politicians and new tiers of local administration though? Do the people of Greater Manchester & South Yorkshire etc really have any more faith in their local politicians than their national ones? Remember the North East referendum - 79% said no. Unless city regional authorities & elected mayors etc are going to be "imposed" on the English regions by Westminster (as per the Local Government Act 1972) and not by the result of local referenda - then sorry folks, but there's no chance of all this ever coming to fruition.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Local government had very little autonomy or resources. This is about devolving that which is needlessly centralised down to the level at which it can be most effectively used. The Westminster command-and-control model is remote and does not work.

Ghostly TomSeptember 19th 2014.

There is a real appetite in city regions like Manchester to have local government that is properly funded to bring about projects that their area needs. This is a lot better than someone in London deciding whether we have something or not. They can't see much beyond the M25 or even north of the Euston Road in some cases. I'm all for it.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Sure devolving powers to the city region would be a good thing, in my opinion, but presumably there would need to be a local referendum - and would the people of Trafford, Rochdale, Wigan & Bolton etc then vote for a new Manchester city region authority & mayor? Sadly, I just don't think so.

Ghostly TomSeptember 19th 2014.

Before it happens, the benefits and changes will have to be up before the residents of all these areas. People are intelligent, they will see the benefits and vote accordingly. People in Greater Manchester can see the success in London and the high profile that Boris has on the international scene as Mayor of London and will think 'we'll have some of that please!'

Poster BoySeptember 19th 2014.

Not necessarily so. Londoners have been fortunate that the two Mayors to date have been high profile voter friendly charismatic 'outsiders' -and look behind the bluster and their records of achievement leave much to be desired. The Westminster parties have retained control of the candidature of Mayors leading to the selection of mediocrats like the Mayors of Salford and Liverpool. What price a Lloyd, or Powell or Leece? Be careful what you wish for. There is a complete fog as to how devo-max for cities or city regions will be delivered, and the concept of English city Mayors was overwhelmingly rejected by referendum in 2012. What is clear is that the priority for the Tories will not be devolution for cities. The priority will be to quell the back bench anger at Scottish MP's being able to vote on English matters in a British parliament. And that is a circle to be squared, in advance of a pending election. Underwhelmed? You will be.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

It is not about being able to vote for new politicians to govern, but more about London receiving a disproportionate amount of public spending, for example 89% of spending on transport in the past year has been in London. This is why greater devolution is needed so that tax money from Manchester gets spent in Manchester.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Yep! More is spent on cycling in London than Manchester can spend on it's entire public transport system.

DavidSeptember 19th 2014.

Labour told us that Glasgow had more in common with Manchester than it did with rest of Scotland and yet it voted to leave the UK.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
DivvySeptember 19th 2014.

When did Labour tell us that? Link please

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Didn't Man Con and Mr Schofield make that same claim on here too David? Labour and their apologists eh, destroying the hopes & dreams of people over this whole dis-United Kingdom!!

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Completely irrelevant David if it is even true. Are you drunk?

DavidSeptember 19th 2014.

They made it in core cities piece on this website

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2014.

Seriously. Are you drunk?

MattSeptember 19th 2014.

Whether the first part is true or not, his post doesn't actually mean anything. It's an nonsense sentence. Connecting point one to point two doesn't actually say anything.

DivvySeptember 19th 2014.

Right okay. But is your point, David?

DivvySeptember 19th 2014.

Right okay. But is your point, David?

1 Response: Reply To This...
DivvySeptember 19th 2014.

Oops.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2014.

What about us in rural areas, between cities?

1 Response: Reply To This...
MattSeptember 21st 2014.

What about you? It says 'Manchester' at the top of this page. Not, erm.. 'Countryfile'

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