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Leeds joins with Glasgow in plea for powers

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LEEDS has joined Glasgow and the biggest English cities in calling for a major transfer of power out of London.

The group of the eight largest English cities outside London - known as the ‘Core Cities’ and Glasgow said such a move would be more radical than giving Scotland independence.

Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, one of the Core Cities members, said Glasgow had seen the benefits of securing a ‘city deal’.

Leeds struck a ‘city deal’ with the Government two years ago giving it extra powers in areas such as transport and skills to try and grow the city’s economy quicker.

Coun Wakefield said: “Glasgow really wants to join up with the big English cities to work on this.

“Rather than be deflected by separating they want to see how we can be better connected through things such as high speed rail.

“The economies of the cities are very similar and we can learn a lot from each other.”

The Core Cities, who met for the first time in Glasgow yesterday, said that both the UK Government in London and the Scottish Government in Edinburgh tended to centralise power.

But they argued making more decisions at a local level was the best way to get value for public money and grow the economy outside London and the South-East.

Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Cities are crucial to driving growth and the UK’s largest cities working together and having strong connections is central to achieving this.

“That is why the Core Cities are meeting in Glasgow to demonstrate our commitment to working together with Scottish Cities with whom we share common interests to give all our British cities the tools we need to develop our local economies and create more jobs in our areas.”

Glasgow Council leader Gordon Matheson welcomed the “powerful intervention against separatism from my fellow city leaders”, adding: “The issues they face from an over-dominant London economy and government centralism are the same that Glasgow faces. The fact of the matter is that Glasgow has more in common with cities such as Liverpool and Manchester than we do with much of the rest of Scotland.”

 

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