Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leadership Will Make This Work; Views of the North

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leadership Will Make This Work; Views of the North

Article excerpt

THERE have not been many occasions in my life where I have been prompted to write to a newspaper supporting Michael Heseltine. But I believe he is quite right in proposing that more resource and decisionmaking should be devolved from central government to regional bodies if regional economies - and hence the national economy - are to be revived.

For decades now we have seen the continuing reduction in both discretionary powers and financial resources of our local authorities; and then this Government abolished all our regional agencies.

So I applaud this proposed reversal. However, we need to be clear that any new body - or a much empowered local enterprise partnership - has powers right across the city region rather than, as in the days of the metropolitan county councils and Passenger Transport Authorities, just the conurbation of Tyne and Wear.

To make it work , however, there needs to be leadership. If the North East is to punch its weight, nationally and internationally, then I believe an elected mayor - covering the North East or at least the northern LEP area - is fundamental. …

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