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Miliband unveils Labour’s devolution deal

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Leaders from “major city and county regions” would attend meetings with secretaries of state in new English-only regional cabinet committees under a Labour government, party leader Ed Miliband has announced.

Speaking in Manchester, where Mr Miliband chaired a preparatory meeting of the shadow English regional cabinet committee, he was expected to say Labour’s plan “will enable every region that comes together as a combined authority…to have extra powers and move to electing a leader if they wish”.

A statement from the party said it would “put devolution at the heart of the next Labour government”, and would introduce “regular meetings of a new English regional cabinet committee chaired by the prime minister”.

The committee would be attended by “relevant secretaries of state and leaders from major city and county regions”, it said.

Following shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh’s announcement that Labour would allow councils to take control of bus services if the party won next year’s general election, Mr Miliband said Labour would “legislate” so city and county regions could set fares, decide routes, and integrate bus services with trams, trains and the wider public transport network.

“The next Labour government will hand regions that want it the power to regulate their bus services so that local people and local businesses get the public transport system they need to succeed,” said Mr Miliband.

Meanwhile, Labour’s leader reinforced the party’s commitment to transfer £30bn of funding from Whitehall to “the people of English regions” over the course of five years.

Mr Miliband said: “It [Labour’s plan] will devolve funding equivalent to £30bn over five years in areas like transport and housing infrastructure, business support, skills, and employment.”

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