Bradford MP, David Ward has received an assurance from the Deputy Prime Minister that the West Yorkshire area will not have to introduce a new “Metro Mayor” as part of the deal to get comprehensive new devolution powers.
At the Deputy Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons today, David Ward quizzed the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, about the steps the Government are taking to devolve more power to places like Bradford and whether the offer of new devolution powers would necessitate the introduction of a “Metro Mayor” as has been introduced in Manchester.
Responding to David, the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed that the Government are in active negotiations over a devolution deal for the Leeds City Region area which includes Bradford in order to give the area more control over key policy areas like housing and transport. He also stated that the Government hope to make a positive announcement shortly on this deal.
David further pressed the Deputy Prime Minister on the governance arrangements surrounding the new devolution deal. David asked whether The Deputy Prime Minister could reaffirm his previous commitment that local areas would be able to decide for themselves the style of any new governance arrangements which would oversee the new devolution deal.
The need for this clarification had become necessary as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently stated that areas that want new devolutionary powers will need to introduce a “Metro Mayor” like in Manchester – even when it is not their own choice.
The Deputy Prime Minister was very clear in his response stating that whilst it was necessary to have improved and strengthen governance arrangements to oversee the administration of new powers to local areas, it was imperative that local areas are the ones that choose the form of these arrangements and will not be forced to introduce a “Metro Mayor” system if they do not wish to.
The Deputy Prime Minister cited the example of Sheffield which has recently agreed a new package of powers with the Government without the need for introducing a “Metro Mayor” to Sheffield.
Commenting David Ward MP said “The Deputy Prime Minister was unambiguous in stating that West Yorkshire will not be forced into introducing an unwelcome Metro Mayor in order to get much needed new powers to drive jobs and growth locally.
“I warmly welcome this clarification by my Lib Dem colleague as it would be unthinkable for Whitehall to dictate to us how we run our local area simply to get powers which we should have had in the first place.
“The new powers will ensure that we have more say over our local area, driving local solutions to local problems and helping to drive growth and more jobs in Bradford. I look forward to hearing of the successful deal shortly.”