Andy Burnham urges Labour to ‘be bolder’
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Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called for the north of England to have a devolution deal to ensure funding to help support levelling up in the area and ensure it is ingrained in UK law, after the distribution of Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove’s funding was slammed. But do you think a Scottish-style deal should be made? Vote in our poll.
The Labour mayor said at the Convention of the North on Wednesday, January 25, that the north and combined authorities should be funded in a similar way to the Barnett Formula, which calculates the amount of public spending allocated to devolved nations. He said: “We want to have a single grant settlement as part of our ask for devolution, like Scotland and Wales.” He said that this model would reduce disparities between the north and south of England and support “German-style levelling up”.
Yet a Labour spokesperson rejected Mr Burnham’s idea, telling HuffPost UK: “Germany has a very different economic and political system to the UK, and so we need to be careful about comparing incompatible systems, or simply pasting one country’s process onto ours, top-down. We want to do things differently, bottom-up and in genuine partnership with local and regional Government.”
Similarly, a spokesman for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “What we want to ensure is we are looking at public spending based on the needs there are in an area, not just based on an arbitrary formula that requires you to spend in London so that somehow there can then be money that goes to another part of the country.”
Last week the Government gave £2.1billion to levelling up projects but the distribution of funds was criticised. Manchester council leader and co-Chair of Convention of the North Bev Craig, said: “Across the north, we still too often face disparities of wealth, health and opportunity that could be redressed through a long-term approach to investment and infrastructure. Cities such as Manchester have a clear understanding of where investment is needed to generate growth that benefits everyone, and we are best placed to be able to deliver.”
So what do YOU think? Should Manchester get a Scotland-style devolved funding deal? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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