Greater Manchester Agreement Over Devolution

Full article can be found at:  http://www.stockport.gov.uk/newsroom/Greatermanchester

Greater Manchester Councils have agreed an historic devolution settlement with the Government.

stockport town hallThe agreement, reached with the Chancellor who has called for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to maximise the economic potential of the north – and building on the work of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) established in 2011 – will give greater powers to the combined authority working in partnership with a directly-elected Mayor.

The agreement, which will need to be ratified by all ten Greater Manchester Councils in due course, signals a step change in the willingness of government to devolve power within England.

Greater Manchester has long been recognised as being at the forefront of the debate with government on devolution in England. This is the first such deal struck with a city region and this is a recognition of the fact that Greater Manchester has established better and stronger collaborative arrangements than any other city region within the UK.

These will open up new opportunities for increasing economic growth and improving the quality of life of Greater Manchester residents by replacing an over-centralised national model, imposing ‘one size fits all’ solutions – with greater local control over certain budgets and powers.

For example, they will unlock huge public transport improvements and help tens of thousands of Greater Manchester residents into work.

Councillor Sue Derbyshire, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “The agreement over devolution for Greater Manchester with the Government is a positive and historic step for the region. By devolving more power to a localised level it will allow us to better serve the people of Greater Manchester by basing decisions on local priorities.

“In Greater Manchester we have been fully aware for a long time that the over-centralised national system being operated was simply not delivering the best results for residents and businesses in the area. This agreement will give us the opportunity to show what a city region with greater freedoms can achieve and contribute to the growth of the country.”

Under the settlement, a directly-elected Mayor for Greater Manchester will be created. The first Greater Manchester Mayoral elections are expected to take place in 2017.

Some powers will only be devolved to Greater Manchester once the Mayor is in place but a significant number of initiatives will be taken, starting in the New Year, in advance of the election of the Mayor. These will include the establishment of a new funding deal which will enable Greater Manchester to invest in further extension and strengthening of the city regions transport infrastructure. The deal is worth £900 million over the next 30 years.

Powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester include:

  • Transport
  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Public Service Reform
  • Health and Social Care
  • Earn Back
  • Skills and Business support
  • Governance arrangements

The existing Police and Crime Commissioner’s role will also be merged with the Greater Manchester Mayor’s role.

For more information about the agreement visit the Greater Manchester Combined Authority webpages

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