Increase devolution to support Brexit stability

Manchester’s metro mayor Andy Burnham has called on the government to increase devolution to English regions to maintain stability and growth across the country during the Brexit process.

Speaking before the the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, the former Labour leadership candidate said that while the government is rightly focused on Brexit, devolved administrations should be able to fill the gap and deliver local priorities, enabling greater local control to help meet needs of local businesses and residents.

Focusing upon the Apprenticeship Levy, it has been revealed that the NHS in Greater Manchester is expected to raise around £11.5 million from the apprenticeship levy this year. Alongside skills training, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has also reiterated the need for better regional analysis, devolved EU powers and a greater voice for the North of England in brevet negotiations.

Burnham said: “There are devolved administrations across our country which are primed and ready to make decisions on domestic issues to truly make the difference people need. But we cannot do this while we have one hand tied behind our backs. Devolving more power to English regions to let them get on with looking after their people will not only help residents, but also help to ensure a smoother Brexit process.

“A key part of this is to make sure we have people with the right skills to get jobs once we have left the EU. Further devolution to allow a less fragmented post-16 skills system with clear and attractive choices for young people, including apprenticeships and T-Levels, would go a long way to connecting residents and businesses with the growth of Greater Manchester. Further devolution is the key to making a post-Brexit future a success.”

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