Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Could Set an Example to Rest of the Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Could Set an Example to Rest of the Country

Article excerpt

Byline: David Taylor-Gooby

HAVE you noticed how many talented Labour MPs have jumped ship since the General Election? Andy Burnham became mayor of Manchester, Jamie Reed in Cumbria took a high profile job with British Nuclear Fuels in the area where he lived, Sadiq Khan became mayor of London and Heidi Alexander has now gone to work for him.

Most recently Dan Jarvis, having won the election for mayor of the Sheffield region with a big majority, is now setting about campaigning for an all-Yorkshire authority. He is still an MP but I wonder for how much longer.

Jamie Reed probably took his decision for family reasons, but all the others have thought that there is a more interesting career ahead of them in the new devolved authorities than remaining in opposition and hoping there will be a Labour Government one day.

I have served as a councillor and I know that it is much more satisfying to run something where you can see things actually happening, that to simply express your opinions and hope someone takes notice. I enjoyed my time on the housing board for precisely that reason.

Have these MPs made a wise choice? The number of devolved authorities seems to keep increasing in the North, with a deal now being worked out for Yorkshire.

The idea of the Northern Powerhouse initiative which began in 2014 was to establish devolved authorities throughout the North (which means everything from Liverpool to Hull to Berwick) so they could deliver faster growth and help redress the imbalance between North and South. Initially the idea was to focus them on cities, but now the concept has widened. Cheshire and Warrington are now looking to become one. In the 2017 budget the devolved authorities received preference for extra funding through the Transforming cities fund. The devolved authorities simply received it based on population while other areas had to bid for what was left. This is likely to be the pattern in the future.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has produced a good report, written by Lord O'Neill who started the concept.

The Journal reported on it last Saturday. …

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