"Super mayor" to lead Greater Manchester
Radical new leadership model for the Northern capital is set to come into force in 2017
A directly elected super mayor is to take control of Greater Manchester by 2017.
The move to create clear and accountable leadership across the 2.7 million strong city-region is the culmination of years of wrangling that began under Labour and continued under the Conservative-led coalition.
Council leaders in Greater Manchester – a city-region of 2.7 million people – agreed to Treasury requests for them to have a super mayor in exchange for great local controls over billions of pounds of public spending in the area.
Labour’s Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council – which covers only a sliver of the wider metropolitan region of Greater Manchester – was installed by bookmakers as early favourite for the post.
The first vote for the mayor is set for 2017, once enabling legislation for the mayor is in place.
The Greater Manchester mayor will be the UK’s second city-regional mayoralty, after that in London. There are a number of mayors for single local authorities. But only London and now Manchester have strategic mayoralties that span a number of councils.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “This is a massive moment for the north of England and our plan to build the Northern Powerhouse. After several months of private discussions with local representatives from all three parties, I have reached agreement with the civic leaders of Greater Manchester to create the first metro-wide elected mayor outside of London. This will give Mancunians a powerful voice and bring practical improvements for local people, with better transport links, an Oyster-style travelcard, and more investment in skills and the city’s economy.”
He added: “The Northern Powerhouse is becoming a reality. We plan to make major investments in northern transport and science, now we have agreement on the first metro area Mayor. This is what we’ve achieved in just a few months. Giving cities power is part of our long term economic plan to reduce the decades-old gap between north and south, London and the rest.”
Greater Manchester Combined Authority chair Lord Peter Smith assured locals: “Make no mistake, this devolution settlement is a momentous moment for Greater Manchester. It gives us greater control over own destiny in several key areas and the ability to base decisions on local priorities and needs rather than on ‘one size fits all’ diktats from Westminster. This isn’t about taking powers from individual Greater Manchester authorities. It’s about powers coming down from central government to a more localised level.”
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