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Hull has confidence in combined authorities

Stephen Brady
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The city has much to offer the ‘northern powerhouse’, says Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady

Hull is a city that is on the up and we want to seize the opportunity to build on the investment secured over the past year.

With a combined investment of £310m from Siemens and ABP for wind turbine production, global consumer health company Reckitt Benckiser announcing a £100m investment to create a new Centre of Scientific Excellence early next year, and the largest redevelopment of our city centre in our history about to get under way, our focus is clearly on the future.

Despite these recent successes, we believe that our region needs to do more and to have a bigger voice to achieve its full potential. We believe that we will only deliver more jobs, prosperity and investment if we are able to fulfil our role as a regional capital as part of the ‘northern powerhouse’ of cities working together to compete with the south.

We must look at the organisation of local government in our region as national policy moves towards giving greater powers and devolved funding to cities at the head of combined authorities. The stakes are huge and we must ensure our area is not left behind, as it has been in the past.

The council has established an independent commission to examine the options for delivering the most effective local government on the north bank of the Humber. Comprising 10 influential individuals from the public and private sectors, the commission will help us determine how Hull can bring more investment, prosperity and jobs to the area, ensuring the whole region is able to capitalise on the opportunities we now have for growth and investment.

There is already evidence to suggest that Hull’s tightly drawn boundaries could be holding the city back. Hull is a city that is economically important to a local population of at least 500,000 people, with 40,000 commuting in and out every day. At the moment it is simply seen as a city with a population of 260,000 and is therefore regarded as inconsequential.

The commission will assess what impact boundary changes could have on our economic future. Alongside this, it will look at combining the Hull and East Riding councils into one local authority, keeping two councils but having a combined authority for certain functions such as planning, tourism and economic development, and merging the officer administrations of both councils.

It is critical that we look at how the north bank of the Humber can be properly organised to make it stronger and reap the benefits already seen by combined authorities.

Stephen Brady (Lab), leader, Hull City Council

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