Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders has called for a debate on elected Mayors for areas outside of city regions, after questioning the suitability of the model for the “broad and large” area of Cheshire and Warrington, which borders North Wales on one side and Greater Manchester on the other.
Written Questions to Ministers (1) asked by Justin led to the Local Government Minister confirming that “the most ambitious, far-reaching powers and responsibilities will be offered only to those areas that provide a directly-elected, single point of accountability.” The Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Regions have already reached deals offering additional powers, with elections for the new ‘Metro-Mayors’ planned for 2017.
No such deal has been agreed upon for the Cheshire and Warrington area, although it is thought that talks are ongoing on whether the Government will transfer new powers, either to the individual local authorities or to the sub-region.
Commenting, Justin said:
“I am strongly in favour of more devolution to local authorities. Clearly local Councils have a much better understanding of the needs of their residents than Ministers and Civil Servants sat in Westminster.
However, while a new Mayor may represent an appropriate model for recognised city areas like Liverpool and Manchester, I cannot see how one individual can be expected to adequately respond to the needs of people across an area as large as Cheshire and Warrington. Areas like Chester, Crewe, Warrington, Macclesfield and Ellesmere Port all face different challenges and if more powers are to be devolved, we need the Government to recognise this.
My concern is that if one person is responsible for the entire sub-region, places like Ellesmere Port and Neston could be neglected.”
2. To listen to Justin’s question, click here: https://audioboom.com/boos/4585799-question-on-elected-majors-outside-city-regions?t=0