Manchester mayoral elections date set

Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton has announced that the first ever Mayor of Greater Manchester is due to be elected on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Under the new role, the Mayor will provide strong local accountability concerning the region’s devolution deal, which will enable significant powers to be passed from Westminster to the city’s local authorities.

The elected mayor will hold the following new powers: control of a £300 million Housing Investment Fund; powers over strategic planning, including the power to create a statutory spatial framework for Greater Manchester which will need to be approved by a unanimous vote of the mayor’s cabinet; responsibility for a devolved and consolidated transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the next Spending Review, and responsibility for franchised bus services (subject to consultation by Greater Manchester), and for integrated smart ticketing across all local modes of transport; control of a reformed earn back deal, within the current envelope of £30 million a year for 30 years – this gives Greater Manchester the certainty they need to extend the Metrolink to Trafford Park; and take on the role currently covered by the police and crime commissioner.

The deal means local residents will know who is responsible for making decisions regarding the city’s future and can hold them to account through the ballot box.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority includes: Bolton; Bury, Manchester; Oldham; Rochdale; Salford; Stockport; Tameside; Trafford; and Wigan.

Following the devolution plans, the combined authority will receive the following powers: responsibility for securing integrated business support services, including through the Growth Accelerator, Manufacturing Advice Service and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Export Advice; control of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers in Greater Manchester and power to re-shape and re-structure the further education provision within Greater Manchester; control of an expanded Working Well pilot, with central government funding linked to good performance up to a fixed DEL limit in return for risk sharing; opportunity to be a joint commissioner with Department for Work and Pensions for the next phase of the Work Programme; and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups will be invited to develop a business plan for the integration of health and social care across Greater Manchester, based on control of existing health and social care budgets.

Wharton said: “Building a Northern powerhouse is central to our plans to rebalance the economy – key to that is handing powers back to local areas.Greater Manchester are leading the way and on 4 May 2017 local people will have a direct say over who they want to run their city-region.

“Six other areas have already signed devolution deals, and with our change in the law to devolve even more powers from Westminster, I’m confident many other areas will soon follow suit.”

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