Mayors call on government to give the North necessary powers

Northern mayors, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, have called on the government to take urgent action in five key areas and give the North the power and resources to get it firing on all cylinders.

The Liverpool city-region and Greater Manchester Mayors jointly stressed that strong support for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, although welcome, can’t be the only test of commitment to the North and are calling for immediate action in a number of areas.

This includes more local control of rail services, London-style subsidies for northern bus services,  funding to help people affected by clean air zones switch vehicles, as well as full devolved control of the Apprenticeship Levy and more help to support people sleeping rough.

In the joint article, published in the Times Red Box, the mayors make clear that they now need government to give local leaders the powers and resources to go much further.

They say: “To get this country working again, there is an urgent need to take power out of Westminster and give it to our great cities and regions. We need to build a new, healthier politics that unifies people around place and positive change and delivers practical change for citizens.

“The crisis over Brexit makes this a make or break moment for Northern devolution. ‘Take Back Control’ may have been directed at Brussels during the referendum campaign but the reality is that many people were also sending the same message to Westminster. Whilst central government has been stuck in the Brexit mire, we have used devolution to deliver for our local communities on the things that matter to them. So today we are making a new joint call on the government for action in five priority areas.”

The call coincides with the second Convention of the North gathering.