Johnson in devolution pledge

By Laura Sharman and William Eichler | 13 September 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to give more power to people and businesses in the North.

Mr Johnson said he was committed to delivering the Sheffield city region deal, and to opening up negotiations with Leeds and West Yorkshire.

Yorkshire leaders have called on Whitehall to agree to a One Yorkshire deal encompassing the whole region, but Mr Johnson's comments have been viewed locally as a blow to this idea.

The Prime Minister also said that his Government would create a new Northern Powerhouse growth body to drive forward the region’s economy, with a chair who would work closely with the minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Jake Berry.

He said: ‘It is time that we gave more people a say over the places where they live and it is time that we gave you the proper ability to run things your way.

‘We are going to maximise the power of the north and we are going to make sure that it is people here who are in control over the things that matter to them.’

But director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership think-tank, Henri Murison, said: ‘However much we trust Jake Berry as our voice at the Cabinet table, relying on Whitehall to back us and our plans to rebalance the country is not enough.

Yesterday the Government committed to new devolution deals across the Midlands.

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘We’re building on mayor Andy Street’s huge success in the West Midlands by committing today to roll out more devolution.

'Taking back control doesn’t just apply to Westminster regaining sovereignty from the EU - it means cities and counties becoming more self-governing.

‘We are going to give greater powers to mayors, council leaders and communities and, in doing so, we will ensure that every part of the Midlands sees the benefits of all the prosperity and opportunity we have in the country.’

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