Clegg blames Treasury for Leeds city deal delay

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
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Nick Clegg has blamed the “clammy hand of the Treasury” for delaying a vital Leeds devolution package

The Deputy Prime Minister has insisted a much-needed package of spending and decision-making powers will eventually be handed over, despite several months of waiting.

West Yorkshire councils say they are long overdue a deal similar to the multi-billion pound job creation package handed to Manchester last year.

Mr Clegg said the blame was down to a reluctance in George Osborne’s Treasury to let go of control.

He said: “I would not advise councils in West Yorkshire to think they can hold out for a better deal with a Labour Government, given that Ed Balls and Labour did the sum total of zero plus zero for devolution in 13 years of office.

“I am absolutely adamantine that we should deliver a good deal for Leeds.

“There is still lost of reluctant foot dragging going on in Whitehall, at the Treasury, which wants to keep its clammy grip, it is institutionally reluctant to let go.

“We delivered a Manchester deal, we delivered a Sheffield deal, it is only a matter of time now before we deliver a Leeds deal.”

Mr Clegg added that the delay was “very much in Whitehall,” saying that “I’m battling hard on behalf of Leeds to make sure that those forces who block progress do not continue to do so.”

The DPM made clear also that there is no Whitehall plan to force mayors onto city regions, saying that mayors were only “George Osborne’s personal preference.”

Tom Dougherty.

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