May mayor shift brings deal over powers step nearer

Roger Marsh
Roger Marsh
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HOPES that Leeds and its neighbours could take more control over their own affairs have risen after suggestions the Government will drop its demand the area has an elected mayor.

Under David Cameron, the Government insisted areas that wanted to take powers from London also had to create new elected mayors.

But it has now emerged new Prime Minister Theresa May is more sceptical about whether metro-mayors are a good idea.

Council sources in West Yorkshire have suggested removing the demand for a mayor could ease some of the political tensions that have hampered efforts to agree a deal that would see Leeds and its neighbours take more control in areas such as transport and skills.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This change of emphasis should mean we can progress quickly towards a transformational devolution deal for the Leeds City Region that builds on our existing growth geal and other devolved investment we’ve secured and enables us to achieve the ambitious 20-year programme set out in our strategic economic plan.”

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said she was “pleased to see a more flexible approach is being suggested”.