‘Give us more power to get this country working again’ – Northern politicians' plea to Boris Johnson

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has joined politicians from across the North in calling for more help for the regions from Boris Johnson’s Government.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 24:10 am
Updated Monday, 16th September 2019, 11:38 am

Mayors and city leaders from Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield, along with business leaders, are meeting for the second Convention of the North in Rotherham.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram said five areas, mainly based on transport, are priorities for the North.

In a joint article in The Times, the mayors said: "To get this country working again, there is an urgent need to take power out of Westminster and give it to our great cities and regions.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis

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"We need to build a new, healthier politics that unifies people around place and positive change and delivers practical change for citizens.

"The crisis over Brexit makes this a make or break moment for Northern devolution. 'Take Back Control' may have been directed at Brussels during the referendum campaign but the reality is that many people were also sending the same message to Westminster.

"Whilst central government has been stuck in the Brexit mire, we have used devolution to deliver for our local communities on the things that matter to them.

"So today we are making a new joint call on the Government for action in five priority areas."

They want the Government to terminate the Northern Rail franchise and work towards more local control of rail services, London-style subsidies for northern bus services, central funding to help people affected by clean air zones to switch vehicles, action on homelessness and more devolved powers putting more money under their control.

Both also support two major projects to improve transport in the regions, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, but called for more money and powers to be devolved from Whitehall to the regions.

Former chancellor George Osborne launched the Northern Powerhouse in 2014, the key idea being to improve prosperity by raising the North's poor economic performance compared with the south and south east of England.