England’s seven metro mayors have joined forces to call on the government to devolve more power at a faster rate.
Meeting at a summit for the first time today the four Conservative and three Labour mayors will argue for more control over skills, training and apprenticeship services, as well more influence over programmes designed to help people get back to work.
The mayors, meeting at City Hall in London today, will also call for a significant increase in fiscal devolution, with regions given greater control over existing taxes and the revenues they create.
Sadiq Khan (Lab), mayor of London, said: “We may come from different parts of the country and represent different political parties but we all share the same belief – that the best way to secure ongoing prosperity across the country is by giving city regions more control. Many of the most dynamic and prosperous cities and regions in other countries have mayors with substantial powers and funding, and it is high time we followed suit.”
Mr Khan added regional mayors “are the best-placed people to deliver services to meet the specific need of local people”.
While Andy Street (Con), West Midlands mayor, said his party had “pushed the devolution agenda” he added: “I believe now is the time for government to go a step further and provide us with the tools to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities we each face.”
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the government “must urgently increase the speed of devolution and full devolve skills powers” and control of the apprenticeship levy, while West of England mayor Tim Bowles (Con), Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotherham (Lab), and Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen (Con) all backed calls for more devolution.
James Palmer (Con), mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “Though we represent very different areas many of the challenges we face are similar and there is great worth in us all coming together to speak with one voice when we can.
“For too long power has been overly centralised in this country. We all agree on the need for further powers to be devolved to enable us to play the fullest possible role in enabling the areas we represent to flourish.
“The creation of the new ,ayors is a key part of the process but it’s not the end of the process. The achievement of creating seven new mayors needs to be built on through further devolution.”