City devolution supported by sector

May 20 2015  

City devolution supported by sector
Plans for a City Devolution Bill, outlined by the Chancellor in Manchester, have received qualified support from industry commentators.
 
George Osborne confirmed that the Bill – which offers large cities an elected mayor with responsibilities for services including transport – would be part of the Queen’s Speech on 27 May.
 
Local Government Association chair David Sparks welcomed the news as positive for the UK’s larger cities. “But all parts of the country, from city regions to non-metropolitan areas, need greater freedom from Whitehall,” he said.
 
Mr Sparks added that Government should go further and set out a new settlement for all of England, which would devolves decisions on issues including transport and infrastructure.
 
Institution of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock commented: “The devolution of transport powers is an opportunity to be seized." But, he added, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ devolution model. "Government must be guided by the needs, ambition and capacity of each area.”
 
Confederation of British Industry director general John Cridland said: “Under strong and collaborative local leadership the devolution of key powers, like transport and planning, should give authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships the tools to develop ambitious plans for growth.”
 
Last year a devolution agreement was reached with Greater Manchester. Elections for a mayor are set to take place in 2017. Mr Osborne now says that Manchester could be held up to the rest of the country as an example of what is possible. “My door now is open to any other major city which wants to take this bold step,” he said.
 
The legal framework for cities to implement a mayoral devolution deal is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
 
♦ Transport for Greater Manchester signed a memorandum of understanding with Highways England on Thursday to ensure the two authorities develop shared priorities for roads across the city region.
 
“Over £200M is already being invested on creating a smart motorway on a section on the M60 and M62,” said Highways England chief executive Graham Dalton. “We need to make sure that the work taking place there complements other improvements on local roads.”
 
Transport for Greater Manchester’s chief executive Dr Jon Lamonte added: “Having a clear, strategic approach to the management of highways across a city region as large and complex as Greater Manchester is absolutely essential to keep it growing and moving.”
 
(Photo: Transport for Greater Manchester)

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