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Mayors call for post-Brexit decentralisation

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Metro mayors have called for the promised shared prosperity fund to be devolved to regions as part a general move away from decentralisation following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

In a joint statement following a meeting in Bristol yesterday, the eight directly mayors said the proposed fund worth at least £2.4bn a year, which the government has said will replace European structural funding, should not “languish in Whitehall amidst red tape and bureaucracy”.

They said Brexit “makes it essential” for mayors, who represent regions which account for 42% of the country’s growth, to have control of central government funding to boost local economies.

The statement added: “The cross-party group of metro mayors believe this fund should be devolved to regions rather than languish in Whitehall amidst red tape and bureaucracy.

“The directly-elected regional leaders also call on the government to move from decentralisation to full devolution as existing funding and reporting structures are fragmented, complex and resource-intensive.”

The meeting was attended by West of England mayor Tim Bowles (Con); Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham (Lab); Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen (Con); Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis (Lab); Cambridgeshire & Peterborough mayor James Palmer (Con); Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram (Lab); and West Midlands mayor Andy Street (Con).

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (Lab) was not able to attend the meeting but is said to support the joint statement.

The meeting took place on the second day of the Global Parliament of Mayors at Bristol City Hall, which is being attended by dozens of mayors from across the world.

The call comes after Mr Burnham, Mr Houchen, Mr Jarvis and Mr Rotheram made a similar plea earlier this month.

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