Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Clark: rows over geography will be solved by patience not Whitehall

  • Comment

The communities secretary has insisted he will not step in to resolve rows over combined authorities’ footprints.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday, Greg Clark said “the last [person] that should be deciding” on the boundaries for a devolution bid should be “someone in Westminster”.

“The definition of what is the economic geography is not laid down in any economic manual, it’s something that local people recognise and not everybody has the same view of it,” he said.

“It’s possible to crack it, but it needs to be done through patience, rather than an order from Whitehall.”

Mr Clark’s comments came in response to a question from Staffordshire CC councillor David Smith (Con) about the correct geography for the emerging West Midlands Combined Authority.

Councils in Yorkshire are also struggling to agree on the best boundaries for devolution of powers from central government.

A number of districts in the south of Staffordshire, including Lichfield where Cllr Smith represents, are considering joining the seven metropolitan councils in Birmingham and the Black Country.

These seven have agreed to form a combined authority and are negotiating a devolution deal with government.

Cllr Smith said: “Counties are getting very confused by district councils saying ‘we’d like to be part of that’ but they’re so small they don’t have any influence.”

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.