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Devo Manc deal to see Greater Manchester get unprecedented devolution

by Iain Roberts on 3 November, 2014

I was proud this morning to sign up to the Devo Manc proposals on behalf of Stockport’s Leader Cllr Sue Derbyshire. Ten local authorities run by all three parties have agreed to the biggest devolution of powers from Westminster seen for many years – if this goes ahead, Greater Manchester will have more powers than London.

The ten GM authorities and George Osborne signing up to Devo Manc

The ten GM authorities and George Osborne signing up to Devo Manc

As part of the deal, Greater Manchester will get an elected mayor from 2017, but it won’t be a London-style mayor. In London there’s a separate layer of bureaucracy (the GLA) with the Mayor making the decisions and arguing with the local councils.

That’s not what we wanted, and it’s not what we’ve got. Instead, the Mayor of Greater Manchester will sit round the table with a cabinet made up of the ten leaders of the local authorities, and the new powers will be exercised jointly by the Mayor and the leaders. No new layer of bureaucracy or governance, but an extension of the existing Combined Authority that’s worked very well for the last few years.

The benefit’s are taking control of over a billion pounds of public spending currently run from Westminster. A London-style regulated bus service. £300 million to tackle the need for more housing. Ensuring local people are trained up in the skills they need to get jobs in our area. Joined up support for businesses. A joined up approach to planning. More powers to tackle complex dependency and help the 50,000 people who have struggled to find work and get jobs and integrated health and social care and more.

Put together, these new powers will give us the power to make a real and positive difference to the lives of the people of Greater Manchester.

The next steps are for the ten councils to look at the proposals, followed by a public consultation. If it all goes ahead, there should be an appointed Mayor of Greater Manchester in place before the General Election, working with the ten councils to deliver these benefits, with a directly-elected mayor in 2017.

   14 Comments

14 Responses

  1. John Hartley says:

    Hang on a sec. Isn’t it only recently that it was reported (on this blog?) that the ten local authority leaders did not want there to be an elected mayor and did want any new powers to be exercised by the existing joint arrangements? May I ask what’s changed?

  2. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi John,

    The big difference is that the mayor isn’t a London-style mayor. We always said there needed to be someone to head up the Combined Authority, but what we opposed was a separate authority sitting over the ten councils and a mayor able to force decisions through even if the councils disagreed with them.

    As a result of the negotiations we’ve got someone who’ll be called the mayor, but very different to the London model. The mayor will chair the Combined Authority, will work with the councils and won’t be able to push things through if the councils disagree with them.

    All the new powers will be exercised by the existing Combined Authority.

    This might have been slightly easier to explain to everyone if the person wasn’t called a “mayor”, but never mind!

  3. Mark McIntyre says:

    Oh joy – another politico – for our ‘benefit’ !
    Only the political class could possibly believe another one of their kind to be the answer to all our problems.
    Do they not understand ? – THEY ARE THE PROBLEM !

    FTR – one be unlikely to vote for this ‘burden’ – to vote would only encourage them !

  4. Alan Gent says:

    I welcome the point about regulation of bus services – and hopefully we may get a few inches of tram track in SMBC ?

  5. Les Leckie says:

    Who is the 12th person the picture?

  6. Garry says:

    I hope it does work out for Stockport. then maybe we can double the track from Stockport to Altrincham. Plonk stations in Cheadle, Gatley and Baguley. Then the trains can take some traffic off the highstreet.

  7. A Pain says:

    Why do you think its a good idea Iain that we need another layer of officialdom.
    If the ten councils that you mentioned cannot agree on anything at the moment what will the difference be by having a mayor to oversee it all.
    I really dont get it, just because you and your team think its a great idea it does not mean the local people agree with you.
    It really does make me laugh that supposedly by having a mayor it will instantly sort all our northern problems out, you and your team cannot even get a decision on how to solve the issue of the kingsway/gatley lights fiasco.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Well, first it isn’t another layer and that’s the point I was making. It’s the Combined Authority which already exists taking on extra powers. It’s not even any extra politicians as the Police and Crime Commissioner goes when the mayor comes.

      Of course you’re right that not everyone will agree with me: I didn’t come into politics for that! I do it to make a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s nonsense to say that I think a mayor will solve all our problems – I would never claim that for a moment! I don’t think a mayor will make much difference at all.

      What I do think will make a difference is to have more spending decided locally instead of down in London. The Kingsway lights issue is a good example. It’s a genuinely tough problem – there’s simply too much traffic for the junction and there’s no easy answer. However, a key element is for the Council, TfGM and the Highways Agency to work together, and by giving us in Greater Manchester more influence over the Highways Agency we’re more likely to be able to find a deliverable solution.

  8. David Johnson says:

    As one who is blighted by the Kingsway/Gatley Rd. junction it is slightly hopeful to see Iains response. But only slightly since the mention of transport improvements emphasises driven by economic need to get more & new residents to travel to work! Life is more than being governed by £ signs, it is not Financial Accounting that should take precedence – that should follow after Environmental and Resource Accounting so that existing residents and Societies needs are not degraded further. Especially problems such as the A34 tidal storm waves (and accompanying pollution, noise and rat-running)!

  9. Alf74 says:

    This is a great first stage in a process that must eventually go far beyond Greater Manchester, only a true Northern Region from Liverpool to Hull can compete against the political and economic might of London and the South East. Otherwise we’ll have city regions pitched against each other while London gets the spoils. It’s good that we appear to have avoided another layer of bureaucracy, muddle and cost.

    Local transport improvements are a must and especially so for SMBC. TfGM are building a bus priority scheme for, which yet again terminates at Parrs Wood. I’m sure we’ve all seen the fleets of near empty buses turning round there while we get at best a half hourly service for part of the day! Yes the tram goes there too and to Wythenshaw but not Stockport. What does the Stockport contribute and receive in gross and per capita terms as compared to the other authorities? I’d also add bus information as a necessary along with the oyster card lookalike – even Warrington can manage that!

  10. […] week I signed up to a new deal for Greater Manchester, giving us control of nearly £2 billion currently spent down in Whitehall, along with new powers […]

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