The Mayor

“People here have been calling for action - but Whitehall has failed to deliver"

Responding to the Queen's Speech, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “We have long argued that the London-centric nature of our country needs to change and the Queen’s Speech highlighted that better decisions can be made at a local level, rather than in Whitehall.

“People here have been calling for action on transport, the housing crisis and support for our young people but Whitehall has failed to deliver time and again. If this promised devolution White Paper is to be meaningful it must give us the freedom and funding to deliver in these crucial areas. The Government’s approach must be shaped and agreed in advance with Mayors and other local leaders.

“A vital opportunity for ministers to show they are listening to local leaders would be to ensure that their National Infrastructure Strategy implements the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission. This would mean long-term, stable, substantial devolved funding so that city-regions can develop the London-style transport systems we so desperately need.

“I once again welcome the commitment to reform our rail system and give areas like Greater Manchester more local control. However, ministers should be prepared to consider legislating if necessary to deliver these much-needed changes.

“Greater Manchester has led the way in improving the quality of social care and integrating it with health services. This Queen’s Speech once again identified the need to reform funding of social care services but what has been proposed does not sound like the solution we need. Urgent action is desperately needed given the scale of the crisis that local authorities face - ducking this challenge and passing the buck yet again on to local council tax payers is not acceptable. We need a long-term solution for social care, based on the NHS principle whereby everybody contributes and everyone gets the care they need.

“Today the country needed a Queen’s Speech that sought to rebuild consensus and national unity. What it did not need was a partisan and divisive Voter ID bill. This measure requires an urgent rethink.”

Article Published: 14/10/2019 15:00 PM