Osborne urged to ‘be ambitious’

Keith Wakefield
Keith Wakefield
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LEEDS Council leader Keith Wakefield has called on the Government to be “ambitious” in giving the city more control over its own affairs.

During a visit to Leeds last week, Chancellor George Osborne pledged to end the deadlock on talks between West Yorkshire and the Government over Leeds and its neighbours taking over powers and money currently controlled by the Government in London.

Today, Leeds will join with cities across the UK to step up their calls for comprehensive devolution of power from Whitehall to a local level at a summit in Glasgow.

Coun Wakefield said: “In order to get the economy to rebalance and be a northern powerhouse, devolution is absolutely vital.

“Joining up with other cities has given us a powerful voice and we want to make sure we get the best devolution deal in the country.

“We will be extremely disappointed if he is not being as ambitious as we are.”

A report by the thinktank ResPublica, released to coincide with the summit, calls for cities such as Leeds to be given sweeping powers over taxes and spending currently controlled in Whitehall in the next five years.

It suggests cities should be allowed to keep hold of taxes such as business rates and in the longer term should be allowed to have their own rates of income tax in a move which could help create thousands of jobs.