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Public Spending

Volume 587: debated on Monday 3 November 2014

I am pleased to announce that Greater Manchester will be getting its own directly elected city-wide mayor with powers over transport, housing, planning and policing, as part of an agreement I have reached with the civic leaders from Greater Manchester.

This is a key part of our plan to create a northern powerhouse, to maximise the economic potential of the north and build a more balanced economy.

Under the agreement, Greater Manchester will see the first metro-wide elected mayor outside London and the Government will devolve a comprehensive set of powers to Greater Manchester. In addition to powers over transport, housing and planning, Manchester will also be given new powers to support business growth, skills, and help to join up health and social care budgets.

These mayoral proposals will create a powerful devolved administration with strong political leadership that can drive through policy to stimulate economic growth and plan strategically across the city, as well as representing the city nationally and internationally.

I hope that Manchester will be the first of many big cities to take advantage of greater devolution of powers. Any other city that wants to receive more powers and move to a new model of governance with an elected mayor should bring forward their proposals.

A new, directly elected mayor of Greater Manchester will receive the following powers:

Control of a £300 million housing investment fund.

Powers over strategic planning, including the power to create a statutory spatial framework for the city region. This will need to be approved by a unanimous vote of the mayor’s Cabinet.

Responsibility for a devolved and consolidated transport budget, with a multi-year settlement to be agreed at the next spending review, and responsibility for franchised bus services (subject to consultation by Greater Manchester) across the Greater Manchester region, and for integrating smart ticketing across all local modes of transport.

Control of a reformed earn back deal, within the current envelope of £30 million a year for 30 years, this gives Greater Manchester the certainty they need to extend the Metrolink to Trafford Park.

Take on the role currently covered by the police and crime commissioner.

The Greater Manchester combined authority will receive the following powers:

Responsibility for securing integrated business support services, including through the Growth Accelerator, Manufacturing Advisory Service and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) export advice.

Control of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers in Greater Manchester and power to re-shape and re-structure the Further Education (FE) provision within Greater Manchester.

Control of an expanded Working Well pilot, with central Government funding linked to good performance up to a fixed DEL limit in return for risk sharing.

Opportunity to be a joint commissioner with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the next phase of the Work programme.

The GMCA and Greater Manchester clinical commissioning groups will be invited to develop a business plan for the integration of health and social care across Greater Manchester, based on control of existing health and social care budgets.

The Government will now prepare legislation to enable these changes with the potential for the mayoral election to take place in 2017.

Further powers may be agreed over time. The Government will keep Parliament fully informed.