Ministers confirm plans to give bespoke powers to elected city mayors PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 11:04

Ministers are to press ahead with plans to give elected city mayors their own bespoke powers, it has been confirmed.

The move was contained in the government’s response to the What can a mayor do for your city? consultation. The consultation followed a coalition agreement to create directly-elected mayors in England’s 12 largest cities outside of London, where such a move is backed by local electors in a referendum and following scrutiny by councillors.

In a written ministerial statement, Minister for Decentralisation and Cities Greg Clark said: “Section 15 of the Localism Act provides for powers to be devolved to authorities subject to the approval of Parliament. Where a mayor is elected we would expect that mayor to come forward with his or her own request for the powers they seek to take.”

Clark added that in parallel with the consultation, the government had begun to negotiate with cities and their local enterprise partnerships bespoke city deals aimed at supporting economic growth in their area.

This follows the Deputy Prime Minister’s unveiling last month of proposals for so-called “City Deals”, with the eight largest cities outside London promised a “genuine transfer of power” as long as they guarantee strong and accountable leadership, improved efficiency and outcomes, and innovation.

Greg Clark claimed that the responses to the consultation – which numbered 58 – reinforced the government’s view that a bespoke city-by-city approach to the decentralisation of powers was “the right way forward”. He stressed that the mayors themselves would have an important role in the process of decentralising powers.

Referendums will take place on 3 May in 11 cities:  Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield. Leicester elected Sir Peter Soulsby as its mayor in 2011.

Clark added: "Each one of our great cities is unique, with different needs, characteristics and ambitions. The Localism Act allows the Government to devolve the powers to any city that the city requests and that is the approach that we will take to new mayors.”

 

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