Calls for fair devolution deal

Chancellor George Osborne addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester
Chancellor George Osborne addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester
  • Borough political leaders have their say on fair devo deal campaign
  • Wigan Today has teamed up with fellow Greater Manchester media outlets

WIGAN’S leading political figures have identified their devolution wishlists in support of our calls for the best deal for Greater Manchester.

The Evening Post has joined forces with its fellow titles across the region to hold chancellor George Osborne to account on his Devo Manc promises.

Lord Smith - who narrowly missed out on becoming the GM interim mayor - has focussed on the healthcare package which will see the region take responsibility of a £6bn budget.

The council leader, recently installed as the GM combined authority’s lead on health and wellbeing, has called for the region to use the Wigan Deal as a blueprint for success.

New shadow cabinet minister for energy Lisa Nandy has long been critical of the process in which the devolution deal has been brokered and with the interim mayor selection process bypassing any form of public vote.

And the Wigan MP has urged Mr Osborne to “trust the people...to decide how best to make decisions” with “real devolution...with transparent and accountable government.”

MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy

MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Lisa Nandy

In a similar vein, Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue believes the government should trust its local authority leader to deliver what is best for residents.

Ms Fovargue told the Evening Post that Mr Osborne has “walked the walk” on devolution but now is the time to ensure the right resources are made available to make the pioneering deal a success.

Lisa Nandy, Wigan Labour MP and shadow energy secretary said: “It would be of huge benefit to people across Greater Manchester if we had more control over transport, health and skills across our region.

“The Chancellor recently agreed to transfer more powers to Greater Manchester but gave us no say over the democratic arrangements for holding power. Instead we’ve been handed an unelected Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Handing power back to local people offers a tremendous opportunity for Wigan

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

“Real devolution means giving the people transparent and accountable government. It means pushing power down to the lowest level, not replacing one unaccountable structure in London for another in Manchester.

“The Chancellor must trust the people and allow us to decide how best to make decisions about the things that affect us and our communities.”

Yvonne Fovargue, Makerfield Labour MP and junior minister in the shadow cabinet’s Business, Innovation and Skills team, said: “Greater Manchester has done a great job over the past 20 years in delivering change through ever closer working of its local authorities.

“Handing power back to local people offers a tremendous opportunity for Wigan and Greater Manchester. Our local government leaders across the region are to be congratulated on securing a range of devolved powers.

“The devil is always in the detail. George Osborne has ‘talked the talk’ on devolution but he must now ensure that resources are allocated to ensure that devolution works for Wigan. If he does, I know that our leaders in local government and health have the ability to deliver for the communities they serve.”

Lord Smith, Wigan Council leader and GM combined authority’s lead for health and wellbeing said: “Greater Manchester has achieved the best deal with government on devolution, taking control of key services to make sure they deliver for local people.

“Health is the most important of these but it is a service that many rely on.

“In preparing to go live in April 2016 we have already developed 10 local plans for each district, started work on a 24/7 service, agreed an additional investment of £500,000 to help change and appointed someone to help change behaviour to improve health.

“I want to offer GM a deal on health similar to the Wigan Deal to work together to make this a healthier place to live.”