The Northern Powerhouse minister has stated his ambition to install metro mayors and devolution deals “across the whole north” of England.
In his address to the launch of an all-party Northern Powerhouse group in Parliament yesterday evening, Jake Berry also singled out Lancashire, County Durham and Cheshire & Warrington as three areas which should be seeking devolution.
Noting that South Yorkshire and the North of Tyne were due to have their own metro mayors, Mr Berry urged the rest of the north to seek extra powers using the government’s forthcoming devolution framework – which communities secretary Sajid Javid last week said would provide “clarity and consistency” to councils seeking devolution.
Mr Berry said: “I hope that areas like Lancashire, County Durham, Cheshire and Warrington will look at that framework and say this is what devolution can mean for us. Because I see every single day how a metro mayor and a devolution deal can be a game changer for your local economy and I want to see that across the whole north.”
Later, when asked by LGC when the framework will be launched, Mr Berry said: “You won’t have to wait too long.” Last week Mr Javid said work on the framework was ”still in the early stages”.
In his speech, Mr Berry also highlighted the government’s commitments on transport, many announced in last week’s Budget which targeted “intra, rather than inter-city” routes. He described the £13bn the government had promised as “more money than any government in history has committed to northern transport infrastructure”.
The launch also heard from former Treasury minister Lord O’Neill (Crossbench), who said the Budget and yesterday’s industrial strategy had “delivered more than I thought they may do but not as much as I might have hoped for”.